Second “Democracy and Freedom Conference” publishes final statement
The Second “Democracy and Freedom Conference” gathered in Berlin published its final statement.
The Second “Democracy and Freedom Conference” gathered in Berlin, one of the capitals that knew the wounds of war best. It coincides at a time when the demand for peace under the conditions of occupation and war arose, and resistance was organized together even under the authoritarian oppression.
Since the first conference convened two and a half years ago, we have been witnessing an increase in pressure about the upcoming election in Turkey and the opposition developing new resistance models against it. It has been better observed after the occupation of Ukraine, how the autocratic rule, occupation policy and aggression posed a threat to humanity that Turkey has been experienced for a long time.
With the awareness of the demand for peace, the need for solidarity and the importance of a new Turkish vision in Turkey, the Democracy and Freedom Conference brought representatives of institutions, rights organizations, politicians, academics and activists of different views together.
The conference discussed Turkey's past, present and future in three sessions on the first day:
In the first session, a "Damage Assessment" was made. A mafia one-man regime is inflicting total institutional destruction, collapse and corruption on the country. Kurds, Alevis, Armenians, Assyrians, Yazidis, Romas, and all oppressed peoples are terrorized with increasing violence every day. There is no institution, social structure, and field of struggle for rights that has not been affected by homogenization and oppression.
While the society was punished with poverty, the fields of judiciary, media, academia, health, economy, education, culture and art turned into rubble. Many people, ranging from Academics for Peace to those who are victims of the decree, were sentenced to civilian death. In many institutions, especially in municipalities and universities, the right of representation and autonomous structures were usurped by the policy of illegitimately appointed trustees.
With the hostage and isolation policy, detention was turned into captivity. Nature and habitats are being plundered. With the intensifying brain drain, the intellectual wealth of the country is systematically deserted. Discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, violence against women, children and LGBTIQ+ people are increasing day by day. In such a period, the abolition of the Istanbul Convention provided legitimacy for the murders.
In the second session, “Ways Out” under the oppressive environment was discussed. Despite the heavy damage done, especially in the last 20 years, there is still a tradition of struggle in Turkey. The determined will of the people resisting oppression, especially with the local government victory, stopped the abyss and created hope for tomorrow.
In raising this hope, the development of democratic alliances, especially the active role of labor organizations, women's movement, and ecological opposition in this process, and the solidarity of the struggle in Turkey with world experiences, especially with the victory struggle in Latin America, were emphasized.
The title of the third session was “Building the Future”. The prerequisites have been discussed for a democratic, pluralist and free Turkey after the rubble has been removed. The need for a bottom-up collective founding has been uttered. It was demanded that the political prisoners, especially the sick prisoners, who were held in very harsh conditions in prisons, be liberated and that they be eliminated with the results of the political convictions made so far.
Attention was drawn to the re-establishment of the supervisory and balancing institutions, the re-establishment of an independent judiciary, an effective parliament, a free press, an autonomous university, and a strong civil society. The necessity of a decentralized structure that prioritizes local politics based on participation and consensus instead of central organization based on a one-man dictatorship; The importance of seeking the solution together with everyone involved was emphasized.
At the end of the conference, three working groups formed:
The "Diplomacy and Media Working Group" focused on what can be done to convey the decisions taken at the conference to other peoples of the world, re: their political circles and media, and to show the other side of Turkey.
The “Public Relations Group” discussed what can be done to bring the will formed by 200 people to a much wider audience. Moreover, to share it and to provide solidarity, it was decided to massify the demand for peace, democracy and freedom with democracy festivities, forums and concerts.
The "Rights and Justice Working Group", reporting unlawful judicial decisions, discussed the issue of establishing mechanisms that can tell the world about the injustice experienced, and that can produce solutions to the justice problems and violations of law experienced by exiles abroad.
All participants of the Democracy and Freedom Conference demonstrated the urgent need for solidarity as well as the determination to struggle together. In the words of a “mother of peace”, an approach in which hatred did not grow despite all the persecution, and on the contrary, unprecedented empathy dominated the conference.
The conference ended with the hope of continuation of the unity and solidarity climate created during the weekend, the alliance established and the joint struggle. The conference decided to underline the determination to work together not only until the end of the oppression, but until the day a democratic Turkey and social peace environment that everyone longs for is established.