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Gezi Report: Democracy and totalitarianism pendulum in Turkey

Gezi Legal Monitoring Group, have finally completed the Gezi report entitled as  “Democracy and Totalitarianism pendulum in Turkey” which we have been working on for a while. Many academics, lawyers, professional and civil society organizations, especially DISK,  Bar Association of Turkey, Chamber of Environmental Engineers have contributed to this multi-faceted work.


The report aims to manifest the unlawful practices, human rights violations and totalitarian tendency of the regime from a legal perspective with regard to the concrete cases that have been faced for the last one and a half year period, beginning from the Gezi events. Other purposes of the report are to share the ongoing legal process, including the trials, with public and make a number of suggestions for democratization.

Gezi protest which started as a defense of the city and surroundings in 2013 summer, quickly turned into a strong social opposition, comprising the political reactions and demands coming from different sections of society. Political power’s attendance to suppress this opposition with violence has created a political enviroment in which the fundamental rights and freedoms have been violeted in a continuous manner, the connection with the rule of law and democracy has been severed and all kinds of opposed thoughts have been criminalized. Although the demands for democratization and freedom were expressed by peaceful street demonstrations, political power presented them as if an attempted coup and this accusation took place in the indictments against protesters. This and other developments occurred after Gezi, show that the country quickly moves from democracy towards an authoritarian or even a totalitarian regime.

The report takes the Gezi period from different aspects and especially focuses on the following points:

The social opposition that came to light with Gezi, was particularly formed as a result of the government policies. Gezi protests which are fed by different factors like the urban and ecological destructions, interferences with personal liberty and private life, policies over the female body,  efforts to lead society towards conservatism and increasing police violence can not be associated to the national will hostility, advocacy of coup or other different conspiracies.

When considered from the aspect of Constitution and international human rights law, it will be seen that they were generaly peaceful activities. Systematic prohibition and suppression of these activities are against the Constitution and law; they also signify the violation of the right to freedom of assembly.

During this process, the individual freedom of expression, the freedom of the press, and the academic freedom were suppressed, moreover a large number of employees have been subjected to inquirements and discharged.

As shown by the investigations and cases sampled in the report, people who used their right to freedom of assembly about the issues that concern whole society and country, have been subjected to criminal prosecution. Some of them faced with serious and entirely political accusations.

Deaths and injuries were caused by the unnecessary and excessive usage of force and violence by the police officials. However, the human rights violations and crimes have not been investigated effectively, responsible public officials have not been prosecuted and punished. Impunity has become the general rule and punishment of the officials the exception.

Restrictive new regulations concerning the freedom of expression and the right to freedom of assembly have gained momentum in order to prevent the revival of social opposition. While the area of freedoms gets narrow, it is wanted to expand the powers of police forces through the new security regulations.

The Gezi Report is presented to the public in the hope of providing a contribution to the struggle for democratic governance based on human rights and the rule of law.