[The following statement was issued by Gezi Platform NYC on 8 June 2014.
On 8 June 2014, the Turkish military killed two Kurdish civilians, Ramazan Baran (twenty-six) and Baki Akdemir (fifty), who were protesting against a military post construction in Lice, a small town located near the city of Diyarbakır.
Military posts in Turkey’s Kurdistan represent torture, intimidation, assassination, and mass graves perpetuated during the civil war of the last forty years. People of Lice have been peacefully demonstrating against the recent construction of a large military post since last summer. However, the AKP government’s response has been to deliberately target protesters.
The Turkish Republic has a long history of state violence and oppression; the AKP’s rule has not been an exception. The Roboski Massacre; violent attacks by the police against the peaceful protestors in Gezi Park; the deaths in the coal-mining town of Soma; and targeted police raids in Okmeydani are only the recent examples of how systematic violence is utilized to crush the right to live and dissent.
The history of Lice mirrors this nationwide cycle of state violence. In 1993, the Turkish military attacked Lice, leaving thirty people dead, seventy people injured, and four hundred offices and stores raided. Contrary to the recent peace rhetoric, the AKP’s own approach in Lice has not been any different. In 2009, a fourteen-year-old girl, Ceylan Önkol, was brutally murdered by a mortar shot from a military post in Lice. Her mother collected her body parts in her skirt while a state prosecutor refused to conduct an investigation at the crime scene. Just a year ago, again in Lice, Medeni Yıldırım (eighteen) was killed by the military during an otherwise peaceful protest.
We believe that constructing new military posts during the Peace Process negotiations between the government of Turkey and the Kurdish Movement also reveals the insincerity of the government by antagonizing the society further.
We demand an end to the ongoing state violence and terror in Lice and in the region. We demand an independent and impartial investigation into the murders to ensure that the responsible military personnel is prosecuted. Only peace-enhancing policies and negotiations should be relied upon in the ongoing Peace Process.
Finally, we call the people of Turkey to open-heartedly recognize the Kurdish people’s demands of peace, justice, equal rights, and full cultural recognition. We urge the public to immediately renounce the racist and nationalist outbursts against Kurdish citizens of Turkey.
Gezi Platform NYC
8 June 2014