Turkish civil society groups condemn violence, call for ‘common sense’

Turkish civil society groups condemn violence, call for ‘common sense’

Turkish civil society groups condemn violence, call for ‘common sense’

Fire burns near a police vehicle during clashes between riot police and demonstrators outside the Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara, Oct. 9. AFP Photo / Adem Altan

Non-governmental organizations in Turkey have raised their voices against vandalism and violence, calling for “common sense” after the recent wave of unrest that has left 31 people dead and many more injured across the country.

Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu warned that disregarding democratic means would have a negative impact on the country’s economy.

“Vandalism and banditry cannot be excused or accepted as legitimate and cannot be a method of seeking rights. Problems and demands should be expressed in line with democratic means, not through street banditry,” Hisarcıklıoğlu said on Oct. 10.

A wave of unrest has left 31 people dead, including two police officers, since Oct. 7. More than 350 people have also been wounded in four days of violent protests in Turkey led by pro-Kurdish demonstrators against the government’s policy on Syria.

Hisarcıklıoğlu was speaking at a joint press conference on behalf of a group of non-governmental organizations including the TOBB, mainly representatives of a wide range of labor and trade unions that are members of the EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee: The Confederation of Righteous Trade Unions (Hak-İş), the Turkish Public Workers’ Labor Union (Kamu-Sen), the Confederation of Public Servants’ Trade Unions (Memur-Sen), the Turkish Union of Agricultural Chambers (TZOB), the Turkish Confederation of Employers’ Unions (TİSK), the Turkey Tradesmen and Artisans’ Confederation (TESK) and the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Türk-İş).

“Street terror” will not only harm stability and serenity in the country, but is likely to have a negative impact on the economy, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, particularly highlighting the potential impact on investments that have flourished in recent years in the eastern and southeastern Anatolia.

Elsewhere in Ankara, Metin Feyzioğlu, the head of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB), called for everyone to act with common sense and avoid violence.

“We are not experts in military strategy. But ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] cannot be fought by shooting at police and military, by setting shops on fire and holding demonstrations in city squares. This would only carry the chaos in the Middle East to Turkey. There is no doubt that, more than anyone, ISIL and similar terrorist organizations will be glad because of this,” Feyzioğlu said at a press conference after an attendee suggested that ISIL had become “a domestic issue” for Turkey.

“We are calling on all of our citizens for common sense. Today is time to act with common sense, not with emotions. There is a need to avoid violent actions and street demonstrations,” the TBB head added.