Emine Şenyaşar sued for allegedly insulting president Erdoğan

Kurdish mother Emine Şenyaşar has been sued for allegedly insulting president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.


Kurdish mother Emine Şenyaşar has been sued for allegedly insulting president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turkish head of state sees himself insulted by criticism of the scandalous actions of his judiciary in the trial about the Suruç (Pirsûs) lynching and has called for a lawsuit to be opened through his lawyer.

The criminal chamber of the regional court in Urfa (Riha) has admitted the charges. The trial is scheduled to begin on 31 October 31.

The accusation of insulting the president weighs heavily in Turkey. Article 299 of the Criminal Code provides for prison sentences of up to four years for such offenses. If Erdoğan has his way, Emine Şenyaşar should not only be sentenced to imprisonment but also be deprived of her civil rights (Article 53). This would mean, among other things, that she would not be able to exercise her individual right to freedom of assembly - and would therefore have to end her Vigil for Justice. For Erdoğan and his AKP entourage, the action is a disruptive factor that should be eliminated.

Emine Şenyaşar is the widow of Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar and mother of their sons Celal and Adil. The three men were brutally killed by armed bodyguards and relatives of the then AKP parliamentary candidate Ibrahim Halil Yıldız on the sidelines of a campaign tour in the Kurdish district town of Suruç a few days before the parliamentary and presidential elections in June 2018. At that time, Yıldız had led the lynch mob, which came close to killing three of Şenyaşar's other sons.

Given that the Turkish judicial authorities show no interest in fully solving the murders, and Ibrahim Halil Yıldız and his mafia gang continue to enjoy a life of freedom, Emine Şenyaşar has been holding a vigil for justice for years. The 70-year-old woman stood in front of the Palace of Justice in Urfa for 846 days to demand that the perpetrators be punished. Individuals, political parties and civil society organizations showed solidarity with Şenyaşar and her struggle and attended her vigil. On 8 October 2022, she received the support of members of the then HDP parliamentary group in the Turkish parliament.

This is not the first accusation against Emine Şenyaşar. A total of 31 investigations have been initiated against the elderly woman since her vigil for justice began in March 2021. At least three resulted in fines. She was temporarily arrested several times and was also subject to police reporting requirements. Still, she doesn't let herself be defeated. A few weeks ago, the woman moved her vigil to the Ministry of Justice in Ankara after a break of several months. There, on Tuesday, Şenyaşar criticized the new charges as a “prime example of toxic disrespect. Erdoğan should stand up for my murdered children instead of siding with the killers and suing me.”

Ermine Şenyaşar received support from Sevinç Çakır. The woman is the mother of a junior officer in the Turkish Air Force who was imprisoned as part of the alleged fake coup in July 2016. “We expect justice from the same system. A system that makes us suffer. Our only demand is that the courts act within the framework of protecting human dignity and universal legal principles and providing justice to all people, regardless of their origin or faith. End this pain and worry about justice,” Çakır said.