A group of intellectuals from different social and political backgrounds in Turkey has urged the country’s opposition to unite in a joint statement.
The statement was signed by 101 individuals, including writers, actors, journalists, scientists and politicians, who called themselves “Aksaçlılar,” which translates as people with white hair.
In the statement, the intellectuals said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) gain strength from the disorder of the opposition.
“The people who are in despair and undecided are seeking an alternative that they can trust. Absolute threats can only be gotten rid of by absolute objection. The solution is for all the opposition forces to unite in a democracy alliance,” they said.
The group criticized the oppressive policies of the AKP, saying that the country has never experienced such darkness.
“Based on our experience, we can say that our country has never experienced such darkness, injustices, unlawfulness, social necrosis, loneliness in the world and losing its reputation,” the signatories said.
“The constitution is de facto suspended, the judiciary, which should be independent and impartial, is under the control of the Presidential Palace, just like the security forces. All the institutions that are the guarantees of the republic are made dysfunctional. The remnants of democracy and law are being destroyed in an environment of arbitrariness and oppression,” they also said.
Government control over professional bodies, the violation of the freedom of expression, pressure on journalists, threats against people’s lives and property and seeking wars were among the issues that the intellectuals slammed.
“Most importantly, we’re divided among each other. Discord is being sown among us so that people don’t say, ‘Stop’ altogether,” they said.
“No one should say, ‘This is none of my business, no one will touch me.’ We’re all under threat. When we’re struggling with economic hardships, each step that the government takes intoxicates our air and renders the society unable to breathe,” they added.
The statement also addressed the government.
“We’re warning the government. You have the power and you’re trying to rule by force and not consent. People are unhappy, anxious and concerned. Their silence is not stemmed from their support to you, but from fear and desperation,” they said.
“However, a day will come that the objections grow and the voters put an end to this course. We see that those days are coming even if you don’t,” they added.
The intellectuals addressed the youth at the end of their statement, saying that they should demand their rights.
“Raise your voices and unite against the enmities imposed on you. It’s time to protect our freedoms and life styles and demand our rights. The brightness of tomorrow is in your hands and we want to see that brightness while we’re still alive,” they said.
The signatories are as follows:
Abdullah Nefes, Abdülbaki Erdoğmuş, Ahmet Aykaç, Ahmet İnsel, Ahmet Telli, Ahmet Türk, Ali Bayramoğlu, Ali Sirmen, Altan Öymen, Arif Keskiner, Atilla Dorsay, Aydın Cıngı, Aydın Engin, Ayşe Erzan, Ayşenur Arslan, Baskın Oran, Binnaz Toprak, Bülent Ortaçgil, Canan Arın, Celal Doğan, Cem Toker, Cengiz Aktar, Cengiz Çandar, Cihangir İslam, Coşkun Özdemir, Doğan Bermek, Ercan Karakaş, Erdoğan Aydın, Ersin Kalaycıoğlu, Ersin Salman, Ertuğrul Günay, Ertuğrul Yalçınbayır, Eşber Yağmurdereli, Fatma Gök, Fatmagül Berktay, Fehmi Koru, Fikri Sağlar, Filiz Ali, Genco Erkal, Gençay Gürsoy, Gökhan Akçura, Gürel Tüzün, Hacer Ansal, Halil Ergün, Hasan Cemal, Hayri İnönü, Herkül Milas, İbrahim Betil, İbrahim Sinemillioğlu, İlhan Tekeli, Kazım Güleçyüz, Korkut Boratav, Marta Kalyoncu, Mehmet Hayri Kırbaşoğlu, Melek Ulagay, Meral Tamer, Meryem Koray, Moris Gabbay, Murat Belge, Murat Karayalçın, Müjde Ar, Nadire Mater, Nazar Büyüm, Necmiye Alpay, Nesrin Nas, Nesteren Davutoğlu, Nurettin Sözen, Orhan Pamuk, Orhan Silier, Osman Ulagay, Oya Baydar, Öget Öktem Tanör, Ömer Madra, Peral Bayaz, Rakel Dink, Reşit Canbeyli, Rıza Türmen, Selçuk Erez, Serra Yılmaz, Süleyman Coşkun, Süleyman Çelebi, Şahin Tekgündüz, Şanar Yurdatapan, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Şevket Pamuk, Şükran Soner, Şükrü Aslan, Tarhan Erdem, Tarık Ziya Ekinci, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Turhan Günay, Tülin Dursun, Ümit Aktaş, Üstün Ergüder, Vecdi Sayar, Veysi Dündar, Yaşar Okuyan, Yücel Erten, Zeynep Oral, Ziya Halis, Zülfü Livaneli.