13 August 2010, Friday

Intellectuals from Ankara also Join the Boycott Camp

Support comes from intellectuals, lawyers, politicians, and representatives of civil society organizations of Ankara for the boycott campaign.


Following Diyarbakir and Istanbul, intellectuals of Ankara also joined the decision to boycott the referendum. Last week more than 300 intellectuals in Istanbul had announced that they would not be going to the ballot box during the referendum. The declaration in Ankara was held at Mulkiyeliler House.

Poets Babür Pınar, Mehmet Özer, Ahmet Telli, Necmettin Salaz, Yazar Haluk Gerger, lawyer Hüseyin Aslan, Professors Cengiz Güleç, Yavuz Önen, and Kadir Cangızbay were among the many signatories of the boycott declaration. Political parties and human rights organizations such as BDP, SDP, İHD and 78'liler Devrimci Dayanışma Derneği were also present at the press conference. The slogan of the meeting was " we want an egalitarian, freedoms based, and democratic constitution, and we are not participating at the referendum". Announcement is made by Prof. Cengiz Güleç, General Secretary of Public Employee Unions Confederation (KESK) Emirali Şimşek, PSDAK (an alevi assocation) vice president Kemal Bülbül, SDP general secretary Yeşim Ergün , and by Şükriye Ercan form Freedoms Based Left Platform.

SDP general secretary Yeşim Ergün said that the most civil socity organizations won't be participating in the referendum since the proposed package still does not bring ethnic and religious freedoms. Ergün criticized lack of any amendments in the package regarding institutions such as National Security Council (MGK), and Higher Education Board (YOK) and she continued; " extra-judicial killings, deaths at detention centers, lack of punishment to the torturers, and discrimination at every aspects of life continues. Therefore we believe that the democratization will only happen through the complete renewal of the current constitution". Ergun also said that she believed that a new and democratic constitution could only be drafted through the participation of representatives of different social and economic groups in the society. Ergun stated that they would get together on September 13th to push for a egalitarian and democratic constitution: " In order to face with September 12th,we choose to be on the side with democracy, and invite all of you to boycott the referendum". Prof. Cengiz Güleç also said " join us in order to make the voice of the opposition to be heard".

Writer Necmettin Salaz  and PSAKD Vice President Kemal Bülbül talked to LaborWorld about their position on the referendum:

Necmettin Salaz (Writer):

I have a big problem with this system. Even nobody decided to boycott, I would never say "yes" or "no" to the ones who prosecuted me and sent me to the dungeons of Diyarbakir. In a more societal level, to participate in a referendum that protects the fascist essence of the current constitution is not the right thing to do. For me, boycott means to say "yes" to a democratic constitution that protects the rights of Kurds, Turks, minorities, women, and all the oppressed groups in Turkey. To participate in the referendum is like holding a stick that has both ends dirty. It is better not to dirty our hands at all !

Kemal Bülbül (PSAKD-alevi association-Vice President):

First of all, the package keeps the essence of the September 12th Constitution that is based on Turkish-Islam synthesis, and refuses pluralism. Therefore, it is "the" barrier in front of democratization. Secondly, the package does not event suggest the revision of the first three articles of the constitution. For Alevis, this is unacceptable. Moreover, there are no proposals on the mandatory religion courses, or on the articles that regulate the Diyanet (the state institution that deals with religious affairs). None of these issues are touched by the AKP. Therefore it is not possible to expect from AKP to change the September 12th mentality. The "democratic openings" suggested by the AKP are nothing more than political attractions.  This referendum is a way to re-shape the political arena of Turkey, not an attempt to reshape the constitution. Having AKP government, or CHP with Kılıçdaroğlu will not serve the democratization process in Turkey. Therefore, this referendum should not be taken seriously and boycotted.

Ankara - Labour World