The European Music Council calls on the Turkish government to respect the right of freedom of expression and to respect the right to peaceful assembly
The initial protests for the protection of a public space in central Istanbul, Gezi Park, have spread throughout the country and now grown, addressing a number of issues such as the need for more democracy and respect for the voice of civil society.
The EMC condemns the excessive force used by police in the last weeks against protestors who have been demonstrating overwhelmingly peacefully, and calls for Article 19 and 20 (1) of the UN declaration on human rights in particular to be adhered:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
Music is a powerful means of expression that can bring people together – this has also been clearly demonstrated by the peaceful concerts that are taking place in Gezi Park, and other parts of the country.
In line with the 5 musical rights of the International Music Council, the EMC would like to stress the importance of:
The right for all children and adults to express themselves musically in all freedom.
The EMC appeals to the Turkish government to stop the excessive use of force by police towards the protestors. As in every democracy, the EMC asks Turkey to respect freedom of speech, media (including social media), religion, belief, thought and assembly. The EMC is convinced of Turkey's place within Europe and the European Union. Therefore, the accession negotiations should continue and start focusing on chapters 23 and 24 of the negotiations as these chapters address "Judiciary and Fundamental rights" and "Justice, Freedom and Security". Such negotiations should ensure the adequate and effective protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom of (artistic) expression.
The EMC highly values the cultural and musical diversity in Turkey, this is why the EMC is expressing its solidarity with the peaceful, musical protestors in Turkey and asks for the violence to stop.
The European Music Council contributes to a better mutual understanding among peoples and their different cultures and to the right for all musical cultures to coexist. It acknowledges the significant role that music and culture play for the political and societal development of a peaceful and integrative Europe. Therefore it advocates on local, national and European level for an appropriate framework for music, music professionals and access to music. The EMC provides exceptional value to its membership by building knowledge, creating networking opportunities, supporting and enhancing the visibility of initiatives that help sustain people's participation in music and cultural life.
The EMC also supports the statement issued by Culture Action Europe.