On the Turkish referendum

Turkish referendum

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the country’s prime minister from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have declared victory in the Sunday referendum, won by a narrow margin and designed to hand Erdogan full power.

The new constitution grants autocratic Erdogan vast powers, including the ability to appoint judges without input from parliament, issue decrees with the force of law, and dissolve parliament. The president would also have the sole prerogative over all senior appointments in the bureaucracy and exercise exclusive control of the armed forces.
The amendments obviate the need for the post of prime minister, which would be abolished. With massive imbalances and virtually no checks on the head of state, all hopes for a democratic Turkey are over.

The entire referendum campaign took place amid political crackdown in the aftermath of a deadly military coup last July, the details of which are still unclear. After the coup attempt, Erdogan has deliberately polarized his country, spreading terror through large-scale purges, with authorities jailing 40.000 and dismissing tens of thousands of civil servants, soldiers, police officers, teachers, justice officials and others from their jobs. In a parallel set of court cases, hundreds of members of the opposition the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have been imprisoned on terrorism charges, among them Members of Parliament.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitored the vote and the campaign that preceded it, concluded in its preliminary assessment that the referendum took place in an environment of unfairness that failed to fully measure up to international standards.

As independent media outlets and their dozens of journalists were arrested or exiled, the AKP’s campaign for Yes dominated Turkey’s media and public spaces.
During the campaign, the AKP rallied nationalist voters by equating the No camp with terrorism. According to the OSCE, the state did not ensure that voters were provided with impartial or balanced information on the amendments and their potential impact, thus limiting their ability to make an informed choice.

Whilst IUSY neither condone nor support Islamaphobia that is inherent within the right-wing populist narrative, we must point out that Erdogan’s use of religious polarisation and instrumentalising Islam to fan ethnoreligious nationalistic sentiment is something that must be fought and condemned.

IUSY stands in full solidarity with our comrades from HDP and CHP in their fight for democracy and freedom.

The international community must stop to ignore all kind of human rights violations in the country and put necessary pressure to release the members of the opposition, journalists, and all political prisoners.

IUSY will continue to fight for democracy, justice, and freedom, in Turkey, and all over the world!

Chechnya A.D. 1000: stop the gay concentration camps!

Chechnya - rainbow flag in front of the Moscow Kremlin

Authorities of Chechnya have launched an anti-gay campaign that has led to arresting of dozens of men suspected of being gay. These men are being kept in horrific prison camps in the capital Grozny, in Argun and maybe in some other Chechen cities. In these camps, where violent abuse and torture is common, at least three people were killed following violent acts.

The Chechen government denies all allegations. The spokesperson of Chechnya’s leader, Alvi Karimov, denies the accusations on the claim that there were no gay people in Chechnya. Other officials call these reproaches even “an April fool’s joke”.

Very few people in Chechnya speak about this issues because of the overwhelming climate of fear, where people have been largely intimidated into silence. Some Russian LGBT networks and international human rights groups set up hotlines for people seeking help and received reports of the abuses and torture inside the prison through a hotline. They criticize the consequences of the Russian “anti-propaganda law”, which was unanimously passed in the federal law banning gay “propaganda” in 2013. Until then, a sharp increase in anti-gay violence was registered in the whole region.

IUSY stands in solidarity with the LGBT community in Chechnya.

We condemn every form of violence and discrimination, in Chechnya and in the whole region, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation. We call on the Chechen authorities to immediately stop every form of violence and to fully implement human rights.

IUSY also calls on Russia and the international community to react immediately and take concrete actions in order to overcome violence and discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation.

IUSY Presidium condemns the restriction of academic freedom in Hungary!

Hungary Passes Law Targeting George Soros-Funded University in Budapest

IUSY is shocked by the recently passed Hungarian legislation modifying the law on higher education, designed to close down the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary.

The attack on a leading higher education institution is unprecedented in the country and it sends a very disturbing message about the state of democracy in Hungary. 

We, members of IUSY presidium condemn this shameful move that puts the existence of the CEU in danger.

If anything, we need more universities like the CEU, more possibility for young people to study, and more academic freedom. The future of young generations depends greatly on the quality of education they can receive.

The restriction of intellectual and academic freedom paves a way for alarming tendencies. It shows that the government is aiming for a future where critical thinking is not expected from citizens. 

IUSY stand with CEU and the protesters and we also urge to contest the constitutionality of this legislation.

Act on terror: they did their worst, we will do our best

London attack

On behalf of IUSY, we extend our hand of solidarity and most heartfelt condolences to all those affected by the catastrophic incident of terror unfolded outside of Westminster London.

We also condemn – on no uncertain terms – the despicable and inhuman acts, upon the gates of one of the most prominent and recognisable symbols of modern democracy: Westminster Abbey in London.

The attack has brought terror and shockwaves of fear unto lives of practitioners of democracy, Londoners, as well as tourists from all around the world there to witness and experience one of the oldest functioning democracies at work.

For those who have been injured and suffered losses as a result of the attack, our hearts and spirits are with you. For the brave public service and law enforcement personnel, who are on high alert and currently working overtime to re-stabilise London, our gratitude and solidarity are with you. For those who are no longer with us, we mourn you.

Exactly one year after the Brussels attack, it is difficult to dispute the terroristic intent behind the attack. This shows a strategically planned and placed attack on democratic institutions and the notion of peace. This tactic of dividing and disrupting peaceful democratic societies with fear and terror must be opposed, with a strong measure of human resolve and a timely unification of all lovers of peace.

It is time that all of humanity join hands and hearts in fighting fear and violence, with courage and hope. It is time that we, the Progressives, extend our hands of peace and progress to fellow humans of all colour or creed; for Peace. More so now than ever before, that we must respond to these manifestations of the worst of humanity, with the best of our human nature.

It is in that spirit, that we, young socialists and progressives, now quote a Conservative former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Winston Churchill, when London was attacked during the second world war, “You do your worst, and we will do our best”.

Howard Lee, International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) President
Alessandro Pirisi, International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) Secretary General

The EU-Turkey agreement it’s not the migration policy that we need!

European Union - Turkey agreement it's not the Migration policy that we need!

Today, it is one year since the deal between the European Union and Turkey on relocation of refugees came into force.

In the absence of a functional relocation scheme within the European Union, a deal was forged that would effectively push back refugees to Turkey, deemed a safe third country. There are, however, numerous reports from leading human rights organisations that Turkey is not safe for refugees (source: HRW, Amnesty International).

The European Union – Turkey deal decreased the amount of crossings along the so called Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece. However, the number of migrants trying to reach Europe via the so called Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy increased . The latter route is considerably more dangerous than the former, leading to new deadly records each year. More than 5000 migrants lost their lives in the Mediterranean in 2016  – more than any previous year. In the first two months of 2017, the death toll in the Mediterranean is already higher than in previous years. The vast majority of these victims were attempting to reach Italy (source: IOM).

One year later, we regret to note that the EU-Turkey deal has worsened the already dire situation of thousands of displaced persons. Furthermore, deals modeled on the EU-Turkey deal with even less stable countries, like Libya and several countries in North Africa, threaten to lock up vulnerable people in inhumane situations. We, therefore, demand the following:

1. The urgent implementation of a functional framework for the resettlement of refugees in the European Union. The size of the quotas must reflect the actual needs of protection of asylum seekers.

2. Sufficient support to countries of entry, in particular Greece and Italy, to ensure decent living conditions for refugees and the resources needed to expediently process asylum applications.

3. The abolishment of the Dublin-II regulation and an end to the nationalization of asylum policy in general.

4. The constitution of a European Agency for Asylum and Migration responsible for the examining of asylum applications. This agency has the responsibility to coordinate the national asylum agencies, increase the efficiency and grant for the rights of refugees by consistently applying existing European standards.

5. The creation of more legal channels of migration in order to save lives and reduce human trafficking by all EU Member States to commonly introducing a “humanitarian visa system” allowing refugees to enter the EU territory legally, and thus be able to seek asylum on humanitarian grounds upon arrival. The adoption of common criteria for these visas, and the enabling of asylum seekers to apply to all of the EU countries in any EU embassy by creating a common asylum policy at European level.

6. The revoking of the EU-Turkey deal and the halting of plans for other similar deals with third countries, such as with Libya, until there are guarantees that all agreements with third countries comply with the international humanitarian legal obligations of EU member states. The EU to work together to even out the differences in financial responsibility of member states in managing the external border in order to make sure that no country feel that it is necessary to outsource border control to non-EU countries.

7. The allocation of sufficient resources to the Asylum and Migration Fund, which will include the former asylum and refugee funds, in the EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. The EU to ensure that the EU external aid priorities and fundings are coherent with the ones of the Asylum and Migration fund.

Signatories:

EFAy – European Free Alliance Youth
IFLRY – International Federation of Liberal Youth
IUSY – International Union of Socialist Youth
JEF – Young European Federalists
LYMEC – European Liberal Youth
YDE – Young Democrats for Europe
YEL – Youth of the European Left
YES – Young European Socialists
FYEG – Federation of Young European Greens

Bring back Democracy in Turkey now!

IUSY shows its deepest concern about the political and democratic situation in Turkey, strongly condemning the discretionary arrests of the HDP leaders, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag​ and a dozen other opposition MPs in Turkey, asking for their immediate release. We appeal to the elimination of violence in the region and appeal to a non escalation in the conflict. The recent events in the country, with the increasing arrests of journalists, academic people and other individuals related to any kind of opposition to the Turkish Government, are a sign of an ever increasing authoritarian ruling force by the AKP supported Government. We urge Turkey to abide by international law and to respect the rule of Law. The intentions of reinstating the death penalty, the imposed censorship on social media, the repression on free press and the lack of respect for the independence of the judiciary system pose a clear threat to the democratic regime in Turkey and cannot be accepted by the international community. Also, IUSY condemns the terror attack in Diyarbakır, where 9 people were killed in response to these arrests. We remind that violence cannot be an answer and civil war is not an option in Turkey. It is time for the Turkish Government to respect the rules of democracy,​ which includes respecting the rights of the Kurdish people,​ the right of political association and opposition and freedom of speech press and association.​ We demand that the European Union and the international community take a stand on the unlawful arrests of the HDP leaders, to pressure Turkey to comply to the established standards of the rule of law, using all of their normative power through the political, economic, and diplomatic means at their disposal to successfully achieve this important step. The downwards spiral that is leading Turkey from a secular Republic to a religious autocracy must be stopped in the interest of the Turkish people. We call the EU to take notice that as long as Erdogan’s government perpetrates the repression of democracy and human rights targeting its own citizens – Kurds in particular -Turkey is not abiding by the EU accession criteria she was asked to pursue in its long path towards becoming an EU Member State. We call on the European Union to pressure Turkey by temporary freezing the ongoing EU membership negotiations  until democracy and the respect of the rights of all Turkish citizens are re-established.

BRT 2016 Statement

The Balkan Round Table (BRT) Leadership Conference 2016 brought together ten  IUSY member organisations from the region at the end of July, hosted by DPSMYC Montenegro in Podgorica. During this conference we had the chance to update each other on the different issues that each country/organisation is facing and also strengthen our cooperation in the Balkans.

Find below the statement, outcome of the BRT Leadership Conference 2016.

 

BRT 2016 Statement on the strengthening of the region

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In 2016, the Balkan Region is undergoing major and critical changes that are reshaping our region and our countries future.

We as International Union of Socialist Youth, strongly support and encourage the inclusion of the young politicians and the youngsters of each country, in this important phase of decision making the Balkan countries are taking towards European standards and integration.

The youth of the Balkans, deserve a brighter future, prosperous economy, with no political or ethnic conflict, where the rule of law is strong and where governments are responsive and responsible for their citizens problems.

Right wing extremism in Europe is creating new ways of infiltrating our life and politics by disguising it as center directed right wing party or sometimes even left. But once the curtains wear off, we then see the background and true interests of people behind them.

The increase of terrorism in the world and consequently the endorsing fear in the population is one of the main points on the agenda for the terrorists themselves and also of course for the right wing parties that are abusing the current situations in Europe to increase their power. “Power to the people” is the main foundation of Social Democracy, that’s why we need to find new efficient ways of battling the increase of right wing movements.

Firstly, we as social democrats should return to our roots. That is communicating with people, publicly fighting for their rights and heading towards public good. We must redirect our speech and actions towards the poorest people living without social and health care, living in most distant areas without infrastructure (no internet) and with harmed education systems. They are the ones that need the most help, and also the ones that will value our fight the most. We must not sympathize with any exclusion, racist or/and xenophobic speech. Not from right-wingers and especially not from left-wingers. We are a mirror of ourselves, and we are the ones that promote the acceptance of differences, diverse communities and inclusion. Let’s keep it this way. as we all know, the best way to get to people is by actually doing so. Meaning we should go out to the public with/as activists and talk to people in ghettos, harmed locations, and everywhere else. We need to promote our views to others, and of course best way to do that is by engaging with them. Social Democracy is a word that describes cooperation between people, and we are here to span it’s values.

Education is the most important tool you give young people to be prepared for the challenges of the future. We as IUSY Balkan organizations stand for universal free education for all sectors of the society, since only by allowing everyone equal access to quality education; individuals are able to pursue their respectable careers in an effective manner. We also strongly advocate for paying special attention to the groups that can be easily discriminated in the today’s society and allowing everyone to pursue their dreams freely, regardless of gender, race and religion.

We strongly recommend our governments to reform our educational system in a way that gives young people the possibility to get a job in the future. It is important to strengthen vocational education and to train our citizens throughout their life. We should find new ways of cooperation between us to pressure our governments and universities to benefit more from EU projects such as ERASMUS or HORIZON 2020. Furthermore, one of the biggest concerns for many new students is being able to afford housing while studying and having good infrastructural conditions. By adopting these ideas we believe it would benefit everyone, not only the students or young people, but it would result in a better and more productive society for all

Youth unemployment is one of the most important issues our countries are facing and this is something that not only affects the present but also the future of our economies and lives. All around the Balkan the youth struggles to find a job. The average unemployment rate for young people is higher compared to other ages, in the Balkan Region it varys from 17% to 53%.

To solve the unemployment problem we must start from the roots all the way up to the leaves.

First of all, we as a social-democratic organizations should advocate for a better guidance in youth career. We recommend member organizations to urge their governments for the creation of career-orientation offices for youth who will start their journey into the labor market.

We recommend member organizations to implement policies that encourage youth entrepreneurship. We also suggest a re-distribution of the budget so there can be more opportunities for youth start-ups.

Furthermore, we strongly recommend vocational trainings for all upcoming students. We urge the governments to implement curricula which is more skill-based and provide more experience for the upcoming students in the labor market. We also encourage the creation of national internship programs. We suggest the implementation of youth guarantee beyond borders.

We as IUSY members strongly support integration of the Balkan countries towards the European Union.

That being said, we have to ensure regional stability and improve regional cooperation.

IUSY stands for strong social policy therefore current policies could be improved on a regional level in a cooperative manner.

So far, Regional Youth Cooperation Office was established, but still it is necessary to provide better scope  and by that including Slovenia and Croatia.

We have a say as one that is why we all support the work that each organizations are doing in their own countries.

Bulgaria is one of the countries from the Balkan region with the lowest standards of living, biggest youth migration and big depopulation of many of its cities and villages. Corruption and the presence of organized crime representatives (prime minister of Bulgaria – Boyko Borissov is a well known member of the organized crime structures in the 1990s) in state power is obvious, even the French Ambassador in Bulgaria says this in a TV interview on 30th July 2016.

We, IUSY Balkan members, support our comrades from Bulgaria in their fight for freeing the country from criminals in state structure and taking decisive steps to reform the judicial system and prosecutor’s office according to EU recommendations and following the good example of Romania’s National Anti Corruption Agency.

IUSY supports the struggle of Social Democratic Union, Social Democratic Youth and the Civil Society in Macedonia on their fight for democracy and against the totalitarian regime of Nikola Gruevski and VMRO-DPMNE. We encourage all the political actors in Macedonia to fully implement the upgrade of Przino Agreement to guarantee that the upcoming Macedonian elections on December are free and fair.

On the 21st of July, Albania made history by approving unanimously and with consensus the reform of the justice system. Political leaders have shown responsibility and strong democratic values by voting to create a new independent, fair and free judicial system, a reform in complete coherence with the Venice Commission recommendations.

It is with great optimism for the future of the country and for the Albanian youth, that IUSY and the young politicians of the Balkan region, salute the new judicial reform, and its consensual approval, which will open a new chapter for the European Integration of Albania. We feel that political parties should always come together when they are passing critical and important policies that will affect the lives of their citizens. Political dialog, consensus, constructive cooperation is always better than separation and political war. This spirit of leadership is necessity for our countries in the critical steps needed to be undertaken on their path towards a better life. We, IUSY will always support political actions that respect the principle that people’s interest always comes before party interests.

We, the Balkan youth organizations, feel the necessity to continue on strengthening our cooperation. During the Balkan Round Table 2016 in Podgorica, Montenegro we agreed to organize more joint activities, in promoting regional cooperation, unity, and social democratic values.

JOINT INTERNATIONAL YOUTH SEMINAR ON ECONOMICS

By. SJÖ-IUSY-YES

 

Dear Friends,

 

We cordially invite you to the upcoming “Joint International Seminar on Progressive Economics”. The seminar will be hosted by, IUSY- International Union of Socialist Youth and YES- Young European Socialist Member Organization, SJÖ- Socialist Youth of Austria and the Renner Institut.

 

The focus of the seminar will be Progressive Economics and the topic will be addressed from different perspectives. Furthermore, we will have 3 days of intensive and interesting program containing of seminars, workshops and social & cultural events.

 

The registrations for the European organizations who are members of YES, goes through YES- Young European Socialists and the registration of the non- European Organizations goes through IUSY.

 

In the case of non-Europeans, there are two seats for each region (Asia- Pacific, Africa, Middle East and America). To make sure that everyone has equal chance and the discussions becomes fruitful, we would need to have an application process where you would need to provide us with following:

 

  1. Why you are interested in attending the event?
  2. How you intend to continue working with the topic when returning back to your national/regional organization?

These questions will be possible to answer via the application link.

 

Place: Vienna, Austria

Date: 30 September -2 October

European Organizations (Members of YES): Please contact the YES Secretariat in case of questions of registration etc. office@youngsocialists.eu

Non- European Organizations, please apply through following link: APPLY HERE

Deadline for registration: 3 September

Accommodation: All costs for accommodation and meals will be covered by the hosting organizations. We will send out more details on exact place of venue etc. to those participants who gets their application granted.

Travel reimbursement: The maximum amount of travel reimbursement will be set after the decision on the participants is done, after deadline.

 

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me in case of any questions!

 

Best Regards,

Evin Incir

IUSY Secretary General

iusy@iusy.org