Two water activists detained, deported

Güncelleme Tarihi:

Two water activists detained, deported
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Mart 18, 2009 00:00

ISTANBUL - Two protesters unfurling a banner during the opening ceremony of the 5th World Water Forum on Monday were deported to their home countries yesterday morning.

Haberin Devamı

As Turkey’s President Abdulah Gül opened the forum, Ann-Kathrin Schneider of Germany and Payal Parekh of the United States, members of the nongovernmental organization International Rivers, expressed their disapproval of the Ilısu Dam project in Southeast Turkey with a banner reading "No Risky Dams."

According to Peter Bosshard, policy director of International Rivers, the two women, after being held at a police station overnight, were asked to leave Turkey or face a charge with a potential penalty of more than one year in prison.

At a press conference yesterday a letter from Schneider was read out. "The response of the water forum showed they wouldn’t allow us to speak and share our opinions with them," she said.

She repeated her criticism saying that the Ilısu Dam has already moved 1,000 people and destroyed rivers and cultures.

Bosshard who is organizing the opposing "Alternative Water Forum" said, "We ask the World Water Council to stand up for freedom of speech and make it clear to the Turkish government that the detention and deportation of peaceful protestors is unacceptable." There was never a comparable reaction of state authorities to protests at former World Water Forums, he said.

Moude Barlow, senior advisor on water to the United Nations Assembly and speaker at the 5th World Water Forum, shared her deep concerns about the action taken by the police. "It’s a lie when the officials say, the forum welcomes a diversity of opinions and groups," she said. The detentions showed the real nature of the World Water Council, which is the elite of the water industry and banks, said Barlow. "No one elected these lords of water," she said.

Turkish and international politicians also criticized Turkey’s police action during the protest. Ufuk Aras, member of Turkish Parliament and leader of the Freedom and Solidarity Party, or ÖDP, apologized for the incident and said he will not attend the head of Parliament’s dinner at the Water Forum to show his protest. According to Claudia Roth, leader of Germans Green Party, the Turkish authorities acted deeply undemocratically and their actions also put Istanbul as the coming European Cultural Capital in a bad light.

Haberle ilgili daha fazlası: