Saturday Mothers demand justice for Ferhat Tepe

26 years ago, the then 18-year-old Özgür-Gündem correspondent Ferhat Tepe was abducted in Bitlis. Tepe's body was found two weeks later. He had been tortured to death.

The rally of the Saturday Mothers took place for the 750th time today. For more than 24 years, the mothers have been fighting against "enforced disappearances" of their relatives under state forces’ custody and demand the conviction of the perpetrators. As the traditional rally site, the Galatasaray Square, remains banned by the police, the vigil took place in front of the Human Rights Association (IHD) under police blockade. The mothers were joined by politicians and representatives of civil society organisations, including HDP MP Hüda Kaya and actress Nur Sürer.

The theme of today's rally was the assassination of Ferhat Tepe. On 28 July 1993, the then 18-year-old correspondent of the pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem (Free Agenda) was abducted by three plainclothes police officers in the province of Bitlis.

After the abduction, Ferhat’s father, İshak Tepe, who at the time was chairman of the DEP (Democracy Party, banned in 1994), received a phone call that demanded the closure of all party offices of the DEP and ransom for kidnapped Ferhat Tepe. The caller was identified by İshak Tepe as Korkmaz Tagma, brigade commander of the Turkish military.

Thirteen days later, the body of severely tortured Ferhat Tepe was found in Elazığ about 350 kilometers away.