No Democracy Without Water Justice! Defending Our Commons & Right to Water

Right to Water kucuk logoPanel & Forum

2 November 2013, Saturday, Hour: 13.00-18.00

Taxim Hill Hotel / Taksim (Istanbul)

1st Session: Water for life, not for TOMA[*]!

Taksim Square is where the worldwide known Gezi Protests broke out in June 2013 in Turkey. Taksim means distrubition in Arabic and Turkish. There is a three centruies old water cistern called ‘Taksim Maksemi’ in the very same square. This cistern was used for distributing water coming from different parts of the outskirts of Istanbul, to the rest of the city. People of Turkey started their resistance from this place where water used to reach people and give life to Istanbul. In our day, however, water is used for opressing masses struggling peacefully for their basic demands such as freedom, equality, peace, democracy, justice and access to a better environment. Anti-riot water cannons occupy public space (Taksim Square; traditional public space for peacefull protests) and use water violently to stop freedom of expression. Water becomes the State’s instrument for opressing people and their basic demands. Water becomes not only that, but also the corporate powers’ instrument for making profit.  Water is part of our commons. All living beings should have equal access to it. This basic right cannot be violated by any power group!

13.10- 13.30

Omer Madra (Head of the Open Radio) Remaking of water as  ‘commons’ in the face of Neoliberal policies: Democracy, participation and local governance within the framework of right to water


Arif Nihat Alpsoy (Lawyer) – The actual situation of right to water and sanitation as basic human right in Turkey


Osman Ozguven (The Mayor of Dikili – Izmir) – Combatting the obstacles in front of building our right to water


Gabriella Zanzanaini (Food & Water Europe/Brussels – European Citizen Initiative) – Right to water and sanitation in Europe

14.15-14.30- Questions

14.30-14.45- Break

2nd Session: Water for life, not for corporate powers!

We can protect water through neither giving it to the hands of private companies/profit-centered public entities, nor rising the water bills. We can only start to protect water when we see it as a life source for not only all humans, but also other living beings. In fact, water itself is a living being itself.


Refika Kadioglu (Gola center for Art and Culture) – Policies and practices hampering  living beings’ access to water in the context of Arhavi


Marcela Olivera (Food & Water Watch)  Water struggles against the hegemony of corporate powers

15.15- 15.45

Dr. Akgün İlhan (Right to Water Campaign) – Public being in bottles: No to packaged water!

Avniye Tansuğ  (Open Radio) Reviving public water fountains: Community’s water belongs to the community!

15.45- 16.45


Right to water is a broad and embracing term. This right is not only limited to humans. Access to water is a right for other living beings. In fact, water itself has the right to flow free. However, right to water has been eroding everyday. The historical fountains which made Istanbul what it was once have been waterless and inactive for decades. Thousands of hydro-electric power plants have been built or planned in the name of meeting the ever-growing energy demand of Turkey. Traditional riverbasin communities and ecosystems are being destroyed. Water and santitation services have been privatized; leaving no room for public participation and democracy. We are all affected negatively from these recent developments. Therefore, we – people from different groups of the common water struggle – come all together to discuss what we can do to raise our voice and politically empower ourselves against the destruction of our rights, nature and future.

Right to Water Campaign

Contact info: [email protected]

Tel: 0212-292 34 39

Panel & Forum

Date: 2 November, Saturday 2013

Hour: 13.00-18.00

Place: Taxim Hill Otel, Sıraselviler Cad. No.5, Taksim / Istanbul


[*] TOMA is the abbreviation for anri-riot water cannon vehicle.

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