Below is an appeal from our colleagues and comrades in the Turkish Association of Social Workers (TASW) in light of the uprising by Turkish people across the country and the national strike organised by the Trades Unions. Starting from a demonstration to protect Gezi Park (one of the last public green spaces in Istanbul) from being turned into a commercial hotel, a mass countrywide movement has developed against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his authoritarian government. Police have been brutally deployed against their own people in recent days, with two people killed. SWAN stands in solidarity with TASW and the Turkish people in their struggle against oppression.
'If one throws a stone, it’s a crime. If thousand stones are thrown, that’s political. If you set fire to a car it’s a crime, if a hundred cars are set on fire that’s political.'
28th May 2013, the groundbreaking ceremony of the 3rd bridge of Bosphorus caused 1.6 million trees to be cut. Because of this Project, Prime Minister Erdoğan said that whatever the activists of Gezi Park do, he would construct a shopping center at Gezi Park in Taksim. Turkish police attacked the protesters violently with tear gas and water cannons, directly targeting their faces and bodies. Dozens of protesters have been hospitalized and arrested. Not only in İstanbul, but also in Ankara, İzmir, Mersin and in more than 40 provinces, activists organized huge protests, yet the police’s brutal attack remained the same. More than 1000 people were injured, 2 people died because of the police attack. And within five days, people joined protest despite claims the uprising was dying down because of Erdoğan’s words, like: “There is now a menace which is called Twitter, “There is 50 percent of the country [who voted for the ruling Justice and Development Party - AKP], and we can barely keep them at home [and prevent them from coming onto the streets for counter-protests]. But we have called on them to calm down.”
Over the last five days, social workers have been at the centre of the protests. The İstanbul and Ankara Offices of TASW have been opened to activists for help. Now TASW are attempting to join children’s testimony processes at police stations and to give legal support to social workers and social work students who are taken into custody. Also our office is opened for medical support to activists who don’t want to go hospital because of custody.
We foster solidarity, we support our clients.
Please discuss our methods. Please take notes for struggle.
Turkish Association of Social Workers (TASW)
Please send message of solidarity to TASW at the following email address:
sosyalhizmetuzmanlari [at] gmail.com
* Last night (3rd June 2013) the offices of the TASW in Ankara had a tear gas canister thrown into their building, apparently by the police. Fortunately no-one was hurt or badly affected by the gas.