Address by the President

Today, the promise made by our Constitution was broken in our country, which guarantees everyone's rights to freedom of expression (Article 17 of our Constitution) and freedom of assembly (Article 21 of our Constitution).

Both of these rights were violated today, as people were not provided with an opportunity to hold the pre-planned event in the designated space, with the location and terms previously agreed upon with law enforcement representatives. Law enforcement agencies had promised to protect the event, thus they were obligated to take all necessary measures.

I would like to emphasize that safeguarding the freedom of assembly entails more than protecting just the location; it means ensuring the ability to conduct the event, with security measures in place when necessary. In the manner and with the motivation displayed today, we can infer that any events, whether in form or content, which may be disapproved of by radical groups, will likely be thwarted if law enforcement authorities continue to act as they did today.

What is even more concerning is that this counter-protest was initiated, tested, and openly endorsed through social media posts not only by various branches of the ruling party but also directly by the party's incumbent Members of Parliament, as observed today. Consequently, the recent hastily made statements by officials primarily responsible for safeguarding people's rights, such as the Speaker of the Parliament and the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee, who claim to be human rights defenders, raise questions about their sincerity and credibility when 'one hand says one thing, and the other hand does something else.'

In reality, by encouraging these counter-protests and failing to condemn such actions or hate speech, the ruling party, along with the majority of the parliament, promotes violence and bears responsibility for the resulting consequences.

Today, I would like to begin by urging the Ministry of Internal Affairs to prevent all forms of violent acts. This is its duty and represents the enforcement of the law. I also call on the ruling party to refrain from using hate speech and inciting confrontation. This can be easily achieved by using the controlled message boxes at their disposal.