01.02.2017

In the first hours of 2017, an armed attack was carried out in a nightclub called Reina in Ortaköy, İstanbul. It was declared that 39 people were killed and 65 people were wounded including 4 seriously wounded. We offer our condolences to the families of the deceased and wish the quick recovery of the wounded. We condemn and damn the perpetrators of this attack and the forces behind it.

As far as it is reflected in the media, DAESH claimed the responsibility for the attack. It is a dire situation that government officials announce right after the attack that there might be similar attacks. The duty of those ruling is to ensure the safety of life and property of public, and to help implement the law in accordance with the principle of the rule of law. Government officials’ statements which spread fear among the society and is to encourage the society to live with violence are political irresponsibility. Moreover, the government has never claimed political responsibility in the numerous similar attacks previously carried out and not a single minister of the government has resigned or been discharged. We call the government to make self-criticism and claim political responsibility for these types of attacks that the government could not have prevented.

We continue going through the bitter consequences of Turkey’s domestic and foreign war policy. We call the government to abandon pro-war policies immediately and to end the state of emergency, which serves nothing but to put pressure over public and fails to protect the public, and of course to follow peace policies.

It should not be forgotten that the hate speech which especially politicians and bureaucrats who occupy positions having political responsibility and lots of congregation and opinion leaders have used for the New Year’s celebrations served to justify the violence. This type of speech explicitly provided a basis for the attack in Ortaköy and indeed, invited the attack. Turkey should regulate the hate crimes and prohibit the hate speech as immediate as possible. The hateful discourses directly targeting peoples’ way of life and the polarisation caused by this discourse among public also bears the risk of social conflict. While the freedom of expression is being pressured and even the slightest criticism or opposing attitude on social media is considered as a crime, it is worrying and rather meaningful that no action has been taken against the widespread hate speech towards the New Year’s celebrations.

No! We will not get used to the violence and massacres, we will not remain silent against the hate speech. Despite all, we will persistently cling to the hope for a world without violence, war and where the peace is established.

HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION

HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION OF TURKEY