The Saturday Mothers, who are inquiring after the fate of relatives who vanished while in custody and are calling for the prosecution of those responsible, resolved to stand their ground following the police violence they encountered last week and also held their vigil in the 701st week.
İstiklal Street was besieged by the police from the early hours of the morning. Entering and exiting Galatasaray High School was forbidden. There was a notable presence of dozens of rapid reaction force police officers sitting and waiting in the space where the Saturday Mothers hold their vigil
POLICE TELL CHP PEOPLE: SOMEBODY GAVE YOU AN INSTRUCTION
The police, having barricaded the street from in front of Odakule onwards, only admitted CHP Provincial and Sub-Provincial administrators. The police told the CHP administrators, “Somebody gave you an instruction. That’s why you’re here.”
Those wishing to participate in this week’s vigil gathered in front of the Human Rights Association building. CHP Members of Parliament Ali Şeker and Sezgin Tanrıkulu, HDP MPs Hüda Kaya, Züleyha Gülüm, Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit, Erkan Baş, Garo Paylan, Ahmet Şık, Serpil Kemalbay and Saruhan Oruç, CHP Provincial Chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu, EMEK Party General Chair Selma Gürkan, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) Chair Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, TİHV Istanbul Representative Ümit Efe, musician Ferhat Tunç, journalist Hrant Dink’s son Arat Dink and many citizens attended to support the mothers. Some time later, the Saturday Mothers marched from the Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association holding carnations and sporting photographs of lost relatives on their chests.
“FOR 701 WEEKS WE HAVE BEEN SEEKING OUR LOST LOVED ONES WHO VANISHED WHILE IN CUSTODY”
The Saturday Mothers’ march was blocked by the police at Büyük Parmakkapı Street. The police officers blocking the mothers’ way said they would not permit the action. At this, the mothers sat on the ground in that street in the bid to inquire after the fate of the missing.
Maside Ocak, sister of Hasan Ocak who was murdered while in custody, read this week’s press statement. Saying, “For 701 weeks we have been seeking our lost loved ones who vanished while in custody and calling to account over the missing,” Ocak proclaimed, “We have been in Galatasaray for 701 weeks because they have not made known the fate of the missing, because they have kept secret the location of graves, and because even though the culprits are known they have not been punished. We have been in Galatasaray for 701 weeks because we have been unable to attain the law, the truth and justice in the environment of denial, duress and violence that the state, which is duty bound to put an end to all manner of violence directed against the seekers of rights and bring about justice, has itself created. We have stood our ground for 701 years with our unabated mourning, our unending wait, our undying hope and our unwilting carnations. This case will not close for us until Mehmet Ertak’s fate is made known and those who lost him are prosecuted in compliance with universal law. The lawyer on this case has gone missing like Mehmet Ertak and there has been absolutely no progress in the case for 143 weeks.” Finally, Ocak stressed that they would not cease calling for justice for Ertak and Elçi.
The sit-down action broke up without incident.
APPOINTMENT REQUESTED FROM ERDOĞAN
Relative of one of the vanished while in custody, Maside Ocak, who read the joint statement on behalf of the Saturday mothers, said they had requested an appointment from President Erdoğan and would continue their vigil in Galatasaray Square in the 701st week.
AKP HAS BANNED GALATASARAY SQUARE
For his part, AKP Spokesperson Ömer Çelik said with reference to the matter in a statement he made following the attack staged last week on the Saturday Mothers, “Their engaging in propaganda through exploiting mothers’ pain and engaging in a variety of activities will no longer be permitted. That space will henceforth not be used for this business. The doors of all of us are forever open to those concerned about their children, mothers or others.”