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May it be the year of democracy

We are embarking on a new year. The longing for a freer and more just world without war and exploitation is as ancient as mankind.
Yayınlanma tarihi: 2 Ocak 2018 Salı, 10:25

Humanity wishes to greet each new year with hope and happiness. This well-founded wish has remained nothing but a longing for thousands of years. May 2018 be a year in which we take a step closer to fulfilling this longing.


We also have special wishes for Turkey for the new year: A Turkey in which all obstacles and restrictions hindering freedom of thought and organisation are lifted, the state of emergency ends never to return, the principles of democracy, secularism and the rule of law reign and the flag of peace flutters from high.


Ever mindful that freedom, justice and democracy can only be won through the strength and participation of the masses equipped with civic consciousness, it is the duty of all of us to make 2018 the year of resistance cleansed of violence. Let us greet the new year in awareness and decisiveness with regard to this duty. We will be the ones to win.

It will be the year of hope!

2017 was greeted in the shadow of the state of emergency and decrees with the force of law. Under decrees with the force of law, with large numbers of associations and TV and radio stations being closed, thousands of citizens such as academics, doctors and teachers were expelled from their professions. More than 140 journalists for their part greeted the new year in jail. Civil Society Organisations, press professional organisations and associations, stressing that they would continue the struggle in 2018, gave the message, “We want to live in a country in which there is press freedom and which is just, democratic and full of peace.” Here are some of these messages:

-Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions General Chair Kani Beko: With our belief in a country in which murders at work end, the minimum wage is 2,300 lira, all subcontracted workers acquire staff status without distinction-condition, trade union rights and freedoms are not usurped and democracy, justice, peace, fraternity and freedom reign, we wish for years free from state of emergency and join you in celebrating your new year.

-Confederation of Public Employees' Trade Unions Co-General Chair Mehmet Bozgeyik: We have lived through a year in which parliamentarians, journalists, trade unionists and human rights and freedoms advocates have been detained. We once more in the new year await the immediate reinstatement in their jobs of Nuriye and Semih, who are fighting with their lives for our 4200 sacked members to return to their jobs. Wishing for all these reasons to live in a country in 2018 in which non-state of emergency law holds sway and pressure on the legislature, executive and judiciary ends.

- Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects Executive Board Chair Emin Koramaz: Let the new year be a year of enlightenment. Let oppressive and antidemocratic measures end. Let it be a free year. I believe that in 2018 we will attain an equal, free and democratic Turkey in which injustice, unlawfulness and the single-man regime are overcome and in which science reigns in place of darkness. Let the resistance in the year we have left behind give hope for the coming year.

- Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions Chair Ergün Atalay: We wish that 2018 is a year which is productive as far as working life goes and in which working conditions that befit human honour and trade union rights and freedoms are obtainable for all workers.

- Turkish Medical Association Central Council Chair Prof. Dr. Raşit Tükel: In defending medical values and the people’s right to health, dispensing with the approach that impoverishes us, usurps our rights and does detriment to our social health also strengthens our desire to live in a free, just and democratic country in which peace reigns. We join all our citizens in celebrating the new year and wish for a year imbued with peace, fraternity and solidarity.

-Human Rights Association Istanbul Branch Chair Gülseren Yoleri, Attorney-at-Law: Injustice has turned into a massive problem and justice has become society’s joint demand. I consequently wish for the state of emergency and the decrees with the force of law that have been issued to be annulled. I wish for a just year in which peaceful, humane and solution-focused policies are preferred to conflict and war, problems are solved through parties’ joint participation and will and in which peace, democracy and human rights prevail.

Course charted by press organisations for the new year: Fight for freedom

-Journalists Union of Turkey Chair Gökhan Durmuş: 2017 was a very bad year for the journalists of Turkey. There was always pressure and this has been on the increase up until 2017. Currently 145 journalists are in jail and will enter the new year in jail. As the Journalists Union of Turkey, 2017 has been a year we have spent in the fight for freedom. I think that 2018 will again pass in struggle. My hope for 2018 is for it to be a good year for journalists to report the news freely and for all of us.

-Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions Affiliated Press Trade Union Chair Faruk Eren: I wish that 2018 is a year in which we all together continue to “demand the impossible,” sow hope in place of despondency, demand instead of making do with what is given and are fewer in prison and more engaged in struggle. Friends, we will all together
stand by the struggle to obtain our rights, step up solidarity and stand up for our rights. We wish for a year in which peace reigns for everyone, freedom takes root and labour is respected.

- Journalists Association of Turkey Chair Turgay Olcayto: We want to see a new year in which individuals’ fundamental rights and freedoms are brought back to life, obstacles to the freedom to express thoughts give way, Turkey is delivered from the press freedom disgrace and journalists can write and draw at liberty. In 2017, the people underwent exceptionally arduous days. For journalists, it was a year in which the most troublesome and most negative pains in our press history were ingrained in memories. We will certainly not be subdued from struggle. We will continue to say in the new year that writing and drawing are not crimes.

-Press Council Chair Pınar Türenç: In a single word, freedom is what journalists await from the new year. We want the immediate release of those who have been living in captivity for months or even years. We also wish that those on the outside whose pens are detained are able to perform their duties like those in normal democratic countries. Our greatest expectation in 2018 is for the press to be freed from this pitch-black scenario it is living through.

Messages from the arts world

-MÜJDAT GEZEN: I believe that 2019 will be a very good year for this country. You are asking about 2018 but I am thinking about 2019. You know there is an election. I hope that 2018 is a better year than 2017. The troubles that this country’s people have been through are more than enough.

-ZELİHA BERKSOY: The new year means the beginning of a new life. I wish that we make the best possible use of this new year of ours and for a hopeful year in which we are free in our new life and forever regard our lives sensitively and consciously and withstand difficulties.

-AHMET ÜMİT: I wish for a peaceful year in a world that is distant from conflict. I wish both in the world and in our country for no person to be ostracised regardless of their religion, race or political opinion and for the whole of humanity to unite under a single flag, the flag of beauty. Especially in our country, I wish for there to be an end to the policies of alienation and for all people to converge within democracy.

-PINAR KÜR: In my life of eighty-odd years I have never been through days filled with such pain and hopelessness. I am not speaking of personal perspectives and losses. I weep at the state reached by the country I was born, grew up and grew old in, by the country to which I have devoted so much labour and hope I have made contributions to as a writer and as an educationalist. I neither find the desire to pick up pen in an environment in which dozens of writers, academics and intellectuals are cruelly silenced nor the ability to rejoice at the successes of my children and grandchildren in a world in which there are mothers whose kids are described as “corpses” and who are left to fend for themselves. I do not want to enter the new year weeping. I say if only I had been delivered into eternity without seeing these days.

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