Papandreou visits Istanbul's Gezi Park, plants tree

Papandreou visits Istanbul's Gezi Park, plants tree

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Papandreou visits Istanbuls Gezi Park, plants tree

Socialist International President Georgios Papandreou (C) plants a tree at Gezi Park, 'symbolizing the power of citizens around the world to have a voice over their own fate.' DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Socialist International (SI) President Georgios Papandreou, who is in Istanbul to chair the SI Council Meeting, has visited Gezi Park, from where anti-government protests spread across Turkey. While there he planted a tree “symbolizing the power of citizens around the world to have a voice over their own fate.”

“I think this is symbolic of the power that our citizens have around the world to have a voice, to create a better future, to decide on their own fate. It is a principle, which goes beyond specific nations,” Papandreou told reporters in Gezi Park on Nov. 12.

Papandreou appeared at Gezi Park early in the morning, along with Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chairman Umut Oran.

Papandreou said he was working for a close relationship between Turkey and Greece, as a friend of Turkey.

“I’ve always agreed with the idea that, collectively, we can together imagine a different world; we can together image a better world and democracy has always been the idea that we all participate toward. We all have the right to voice our ideas and collectively, we can make a different world,” he said.

The SI Council Meeting in Istanbul, hosted by the CHP, closed on Nov. 12 after the adoption of resolutions and statements on a number of issues. In a draft declaration on Gezi Park, which is expected to be passed during the meeting, the SI expressed its solidarity with Gezi Park and lent its support to five demands Taksim Solidarity, a civil society group which took a leading role during the protests, raised following the protests.

“Gezi Park must remain a park,” “Those responsible for the violence against the peaceful demonstrators must be brought to justice,” “Tear gas and similar chemical agents must be prohibited,” “Citizens detained should receive a fair trial and be released,” “Freedom of assembly and the right to peaceful demonstrations must be fully respected without hindrance by the authorities” are the five demands of Taksim Solidarity.