Emine Senyaşar: Why does nobody hear our complaints?

Emine Şenyaşar, who is demanding justice in front of the court in Urfa said: "Even if I knew that I was dying, I would not go from here."

Emine Şenyaşar has been sitting in front of the courthouse in Urfa for 35 days demanding justice for her family. Two of her sons were murdered in an attack by the bodyguards of AKP candidate Halil Yıldız. Her husband was beaten to death in the hospital by a mob made up of the MP's relatives. Another son was sentenced to 37 years’ imprisonment thanks to very dubious evidence for allegedly killing the AKP deputy's son while defending his parents.

Commenting on her protest, Emine Şenyaşar said: “Those who carried out the massacre are still walking around in front of our shop, waiting for an opportunity to attack again. We go to the prosecutor's office to report this, but they send us away. Enough of this cruelty and oppression, our eyes have dried up from crying. What kind of law is that, what kind of justice? Why does nobody hear our complaints, why does nobody see us?"

Emine Şenyaşar’ story is the best expression of the patriarchal system and of a woman's resistance to the colonial Turkish state power. For 35 days, Emine Şenyaşar and her son Ferit Şenyaşar have been fighting for justice in front of the court despite all adversities and repression. "My struggle will continue until justice is done for the oppressed," she emphasized.

Emine Şenyaşar was born in 1956 in the village of Aşme near Urfa. At the age of twenty she married Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar and moved in with him in the village of Tümsekli. She has seven children. In 1990 the couple had to move to Suruç due to economic difficulties. Because of their patriotic attitudes and helping the poor, the Şenyaşar family soon became well known and very popular.

Help for Kobanê

In autumn 2014 the family opened their house to the people from Kobanê who had to flee on the other side of the border when the Islamic State attacked the city. Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar mobilized the population for the people in Kobanê and collected relief supplies with great effort. For months, the family also hosted people who came to the border to support the Kobanê resistance. Emine Şenyaşar said about this time: “The people who fled the ISIS attacks and reached this side of the border had no place to go. The people of Suruç opened their doors to them, we had a number of families in the house. They were Kurds, they were our people, we couldn't close our doors to them. We had a house in the village, Hacı Esvet gave it to the journalists who came to the border in Kobanê, they stayed in this house for months. Everything they needed was provided by Hacı Esvet."

The June 14 massacre

The Şenyaşar family became known with the massacre on 14 June 2018. In the run-up to the 24 June 2018 elections, AKP MP Ibrahim Halil Yıldız visited the family’ shop, threatened the family and demanded theit vote. When the family members said that their choice was clear [referring to the HDP], the bodyguards and relatives of the AKP politician opened fire. 41-year-old father of three Celal Şenyaşar and 36-year-old Adil Şenyaşar were seriously injured. The other family members Mehmet, Fadıl and Ferit Şenyaşar were also injured. When the 67-year-old Hacı Esvet visited his two seriously injured sons in the hospital, they are all killed by relatives of the AKP politician. Emine Şenyaşar said: “We were at home that day, my grandson rushed over and said, 'Someone came into our shop, they are arguing.’ So I rushed to the shop. A woman we met on the way stopped me and said, 'Don't go, someone is shooting at your shop, they will kill you too.' So I ran even faster. On the way I met my husband Hacı Esvet and we came to the store. But the police didn't let us in, the wounded were still lying on the ground. The injured were then taken to the hospital, but members of the Yıldız family surrounded the hospital. As soon as they saw my husband, they started attacking him. There they beat him to death.

This family [Yıldız], known for their association with organized crime, also wanted to murder my injured son Fadıl that day. It was only by chance that he escaped death because he was taken to the hospital in Amed (Diyarbakır). He was arrested while he was still in the hospital and then imprisoned. After the murders, they painted the hospital corridors and confiscated the footage from the surveillance cameras. All evidence of the crime was covered up. This family has infiltrated all state institutions in Suruç, they consider themselves the owners of the city. I suffered another pain which I can’t forget that day: It was Ramadan, my son Celal had called home from the shop and asked me to make dolma to break the fast. I said it was too late and I will do that the next day. I will remember that. I'm so sorry because I couldn’t fulfil Calal’s request that day."