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Human rights in Turkey must be respected

ISTANBUL – The European Students’ Union calls on the Turkish government for an end to violence against peaceful protesters and for dialogue with the society.

The European Students Union condemns the disproportionate use of violence of the police towards the protesters, among those students, that resulted in thousands of injured and two deaths by the 5th of June, the massive arrests of nearly a thousand protestors in Istanbul, 1,500 in Ankara, 300 in Izmir and 370 in Adana. The violence broke out in Istanbul on Friday 31st of May when the police fired water canons and tear gas to disperse a sit-in on Taksim Square to halt the construction of a shopping mall that would erase Gezim Park. The protests spread out to more than 50 cities across the country where citizens expressed their solidarity with Istanbul and voiced their concerns about a state that is trying to control the life of its citizens through the latest adopted laws by the parliament that limit the freedom of expression, the freedom of the media and diminishes the progress regarding gender equality. Protestors across Turkey demand a democratic and free state that respects the different opinions, lifestyles and the respect of fundamental Human rights.

As the clashes between the protestors and the police are still continuing, the European Students Union calls for urgent steps to be taken by the Turkish authorities to prevent further deaths and injuries and allow protesters access to their fundamental rights, as well as ensuring the security of all citizens. ESU believes that the Turkish government should investigate police behaviour on the matter of abusing power, as well as engage in a meaningful dialogue with the civil society, while restoring the freedom of speech and freedom to protest. ESU acknowledges the fact that among protestors there are many students and young people and calls upon Turkish authorities to shape future societies by guaranteeing means for democratic participation. ESU reminds the Turkish government that Turkey is signatory of the European Cultural Convention and thus accepted to preserve and protect all cultural heritage sites, the environment and to respect the Council of Europe’s founding values of democracy and Human rights.

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For more information, please contact:

Karina Ufert, ESU Chairperson: +32/473.669.892 // or Robert Hlynur Baldursson, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 //

The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.


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