Saturday Mothers: 23 years claiming for justice

Almost 500 people disappeared while in state forces' custody throughout the '90s. Their families are asking for truth and justice every Saturday in Istanbul and Amed.

Lawyer and human rights defenders, Eren Keskin, said that a country in which disappearance in custody is a state policy, cannot put a time limit for such events being properly investigated until truth and justice are reached. 

The ‘90s were the times when most of these disappearances in custody occurred. Thousands of villages were burned by the army and people were forced to migrate. Many people disappeared after being taken into custody.  

Those who are said to be responsible for all these crimes are actually benefiting from impunity, and in fact some were rewarded and even promoted. 

Relatives of those who disappeared in custody have never given up their struggle to find out the truth about what happened to their relatives and secure the responsible are brought to justice.  

The fate of 264 people out of 472 people known to have been forcibly disappeared throughout the ‘90s could not be determined. 

The remains of 208 people have been found after lengthy and painful processes. 

The investigation into the file of more than 200 people, of the 472, is ongoing. 

Around 40 files have been said to have reached the time limit given for the investigation and have been dismissed. 

More than 70 applications have been made to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding 129 of 344 people who have been forcibly disappeared. 

Some 55 cases involving 103 persons have been recorded as “infringement” or "unacceptable” while others are being investigated.

Lawyer Eren Keskin, who is also the Chair of the Human Rights Association (İHD), said that since 1915, the state has implemented the policy of disappearing opposition members. 

She recalled that for 23 years relatives of those who have been disappeared while in state forces custody have begun an action to claim for the truth and justice about the fate of their relatives.

The Saturday Mothers have been meeting every Saturday in the central Galatasaray square in Istanbul to remind the successive governments that they are not going away until justice is done.