At least 95 people were killed today when explosions hit a peace rally outside Ankara’s main train station. Members, supporters and friends of Defend International condemned the brutal attacks and expressed solidarity with the civil society at this sad time.
In phone calls with representatives of the civil society in Ankara today, Defend International President Dr. Widad Akrawi extended condolences to the victims, survivors and their families and friends. She stressed that Defend International stands side by side with the organisations, human rights activists, journalists and intellectuals who were rallying under the banners of peace and reconciliation. Dr. Akrawi thanked them for reaching out to those who needed help and support.
Commenting on the news that the Turkish Minister of Forestry and Waterworks called the activists “provocateurs” and referred to their peace gathering as a “terrorist demonstration” Dr. Akrawi said today that the victims of Ankara peace rally sacrificed their lives for peace and their only wish was “We Want Peace.”
“We have a message to the Turkish officials: They must stop labeling supporters of peace. ALL the victims and survivors wanted a better future, a peaceful one, without wars, without armed violence. We have to show all of them our deepest respect and admiration.
Today’s attacks are a reminder of the brutal attacks on another peaceful rally in June. Both attacks took place ahead of general election.
The voices of peace can’t be silenced by bombs, shootings, sieges, brutality and barbarism. Despite the challenges we face as peace-makers in a troubled region, all we want is peace and our campaign #WeWantPeace continues.”