1000th week of action by Saturday Mothers vows to continue the struggle until justice is done

Hundreds of people and families gathered in the 1000th week of the action of the Saturday Mothers, drawing attention to the massacres and atrocities of the Turkish state. It was emphasised that the struggle would continue until justice was done.

The struggle for justice of the Saturday Mothers/People for the fate of their relatives who were disappeared and murdered in state custody and for the perpetrators to be put on trial, which has been ongoing since 1995, entered its 100th week.

The barriers around Galatasaray Square, which was blocked by police barriers in 2018, were removed due to the mass demonstration planned for its thousandth week.

Peoples' Democratic Congress (HDK) co-spokespersons Esengül Demir and Cengiz Çiçek, Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) co-chairs Tülay Hatimoğulları and Tuncer Bakırhan are attending the demonstrations. The participants wear aprons with the words "Saturday Mothers" written in Kurdish and Turkish.

Saturday Mothers/People placed a black blanket on the square, with photographs of those murdered and disappeared in detention and the inscription "1000 Weeks".

The press statement was read by Sebla Arcan, member of the Human Rights Association (IHD) Istanbul Branch Commission Against Disappearances in Detention. Emphasising that they had been gathering for 1000 weeks, Sebla Arcan stated that they want their relatives who disappeared after being detained by the state. Remarking that they could not reach the disappeared or their bodies, Sebla Arcan said: "The only thing left of them are the photographs we carry. They were just like you and they were our dearest ones. For a thousand weeks, we have been waiting with unrelenting pain and hope for our loved ones who were taken away by the state. We have been asking for a thousand weeks where our disappeared relatives are, and why the perpetrators are protected with impunity. We do not forget, we will never forget. We have been shouting for a thousand weeks, we will never give up."

Sebla Arcan noted that they have been gathering in Galatasaray Square since 27 May 1995 and added, "We were sometimes prevented, forcibly dispersed, detained and put on trial, but we never gave up."

Emine Ocak, mother of disappeared Hasan Ocak, thanked everyone for their support and demanded justice.

Zübeyde Tepe, mother of Ferhat Tepe, a Özgür Gündem newspaper employee who disappeared under custody, stated that many Özgür Gündem newspaper employees were murdered and said "We will not give up on Galatasaray. We will continue this struggle until the perpetrators, Tansu Çiler, Mehmet Ağar, Korkmaz Tanhan, are put on trial."

Hanım Tosun, wife of the disappeared Fehmi Tosun, said, "One day they will surely answer us. We will not give up seeking justice. We will continue to be here until the murderers are brought to justice."

İkbal Eren, brother of Hayrettin Eren, who disappeared in detention, underlined that: "We will not forget, we will not let them be forgotten."

Deniz Demir, daughter of İbrahim Demir, who disappeared in custody, emphasised that they have been seeking justice for 34 years and that they will pursue justice until their last breath.

Erdoğan Aksoy, husband of Kasım Aksoy, said: "They blindfolded my husband, took him to prison and disappeared him. Even if we die, our grandchildren will come here."

DEM Party MP Pervin Buldan, wife of murdered businessman Savaş Buldan, said that they have been seeking justice for a thousand weeks. Buldan said, "There is even no grave where we can put carnations and pray. That is why we will continue to be here until our missing people are found and the perpetrators are sentenced. This square is our justice square."

Mikail Kırbayır, brother of the disappeared Cemil Kırbayır, stated that they had to face many unlawful acts in order to gather in this area and said, "I have a grave to claim from this state."

Şevin Çelik, the granddaughter of İbrahim Çelik, said, "I want justice for my grandfather."

Messages of solidarity sent to the Saturday Mothers from abroad were also read at the protest.