‘They gave me my daughter in a cardboard box’

The mortal remains of fallen guerrilla Menfiyat Elçiçek (Axîn Seydo) were handed over to her family by the Turkish authorities in a cardboard box. Her mother says: "Our pain is very fresh, as is our anger."

Menfiyat Elçiçek (Axin Seydo), a guerrilla fighter in the ranks of YJA Star (Free Women’s Troops) lost her life in a clash with Turkish troops in the countryside of Şırnak province in northern Kurdistan on 14 September 2018.

Although her family exhausted all legal means to obtain the body, the authorities refused to hand it over for five years. The family of Menfiyat Elçiçek was informed by the police on Wednesday that the body was in the forensic institute in Istanbul and would be handed over there. The remains of the fallen fighter were handed over to her family in a cardboard box on Friday. On the way back home, the family wrapped the remains in a shroud and placed them in a coffin for the funeral. The remains were then buried in the İdil district of Şırnak under police siege.

Mother Asiye Elçiçek said that she had been trying for 5 years to get her daughter's body but the delivery of the body in a cardboard box was a method of torture. Asiye Elçiçek expressed great anger against the delivery of the fallen guerrillas’ bodies to the families in this way and said: "They are afraid of us”.

Asiye Elçiçek said, "After completing the procedures in Istanbul, the authorities said, 'bring your car closer to the morgue'. We brought our car closer to the morgue. They gave my daughter to me in a cardboard box. When we arrived in Adana, I could not bear this situation anymore. In Adana, we shrouded the body, put it in a coffin and brought it to İdil."

Elçiçek continued: "Our pain is very fresh, as is our anger. When I received my daughter's body like that, my first words were 'I would sacrifice my life for these bodies.’ The police surrounded me but could not do anything. I had been waiting for my daughter's body for 5 years. I always said, 'I wish I could find my daughter's body.’ We hurt so bad in our heart while waiting. May God not let anyone get away with it. When I received my daughter's body in that cardboard box, I felt sad and angry, but part of me also felt good. Because some mothers are still looking for the bones of their children. I brought her body home, and my head is high."

Asiye Elçiçek said, "No matter what they do, they will not defeat us. They are the ones who will be afraid of us. Whatever they are doing, they are doing it out of fear of us."