Governor’s Office bans demonstrations in public spaces in Turkish capital
AFP photoThe Ankara Governor’s Office has banned demonstrations in public spaces for a month over “security concerns.”
According to a statement released on Aug. 2, the ban will be in place throughout August after authorities evaluated that a possible Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack could take place.
“It was evaluated that ISIL and similar terrorist organizations can stage attacks directed to the participants of the demonstrations and citizens and can put public security in danger,” the statement read, as it added that intelligence had been received regarding planned protests in support of two educators who have been on hunger strike for nearly 150 days.
Academic Nuriye Gülmen and elementary school teacher Semih Özakça launched hunger strikes with a demand to be reinstated to their posts that they were dismissed from by state of emergency decrees along with thousands of others.
They were arrested on the 75th day of their hunger strike in May and protests for their release have been ongoing in Ankara ever since.
Authorities, meanwhile, have repeatedly said that the educators are members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).
“We have received intelligence that sit-ins and hunger strikes will be carried out in several spots and parks of our province on a 24-hour basis to support DHKP-C members Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who were dismissed by state of emergency decrees issued under the emergency law and who were arrested and detained while they were on hunger strike in order to be reinstated to their jobs,” governor’s office’s statement also said.
“It was evaluated that these acts may bother the environment because citizens prefer parks due to seasonal conditions,” it read.
According to the governor’s office, hunger strikes, sit-ins, commemoration ceremonies and concerts are among the acts that are banned and legal action will be taken against those who violate the ban.
The governor’s office’s decision drew criticism from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ankara lawmaker Necati Yılmaz, who said the province “is not a prison and the governor is not a chief warden.”
“People of Ankara don’t deserve to be ruled with such a freak decision,” Yılmaz also said.