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LOCAL > Demonstrators object to referendum idea, say they will remain in Gezi Park

ISTANBUL

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Taksim Solidarity Platform has made a public statement late on June 13. DHA photo

Taksim Solidarity Platform has made a public statement late on June 13. DHA photo

The demonstrators occupying Gezi Park to prevent a demolition project objected to the government’s referendum proposal and defied the warnings to evacuate the park on June 13, announcing that they intended to remain until “concrete steps” were made to meet their demands. 

“Gezi Park is life. We will continue to defend our vital rights everywhere and under every condition,” said a spokesman of the Taksim Solidarity Platform on behalf of the demonstrators.

CAn Atalay said that the court had already suspended with a ruling the construction of the historic barracks on the site. “Under normal conditions, ‘meeting of our demands’ is the government’s duty towards its citizens.”

However the group added that the discussion in terms of referendum was progress after the police raids. “We consider the government’s ending of threats and opening of a discussion on a ‘referendum’ as a step and a promise that there won’t be new casualties. But we unfortunately note that in the prime minister’s or spokesperson’s statements, the threatening language is still present,” the statement continued. 

The group insisted that their demand on keeping Gezi Park untouched and investigating those who were responsible for the heavy police repression and loss of life were legal and legitimate.  

They also recalled a speech from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2009 when he said “The fundamental rights and freedoms cannot be subject to voting,” over the referendum on a ban on the construction of minarets on mosques. 

“You cannot put to a referendum the rights and freedoms, the freedom of belief and life of an individual,” Erdoğan had said back then.  

“For all those reasons, we will remain in Gezi Park as we came to sit in the first day, with our songs, books, tents, sleeping bags and all our demands,” Atalay said, adding that they expected more contributions from the media and intellectuals for concrete solutions. 

Following a meeting on June 12 between the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a group of eleven people representing the demonstrators, the government had suggested holding a referendum as an exit to the deadlock.

June/13/2013

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