Investigations against survivors of Suruç massacre and families of victims

The fight for justice will never be abandoned, relatives of the victims and injured of the 2015 ISIS massacre in Suruç declared on the occasion of investigations against them.

In the last hearing of the trial held on 22 October 2021 for the murder of 33 people in Suruç in a bomb attack by ISIS in 2015, charges were filed against the ten people who objected to the fact that only one person, Yakup Şahin, was sentenced to 34 times aggravated life imprisonment.

In the attack seven years ago, 33 mainly young people were killed by an ISIS assassin, 104 others were injured, some seriously. The attack occurred when 300 people gathered at the Amara Cultural Centre at the call of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) to hold a press conference before leaving for Kobanê. The planned trip to northern Syria was supposed to be an act of solidarity. The young people wanted to bring children's toys and humanitarian aid supplies to the ISIS-destroyed city.

The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Urfa opened an investigation against the co-presidents of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), Şahin Tümüklü, Çağla Seven and Koray Türkay, who were injured in Suruç, the families of the murdered Feti Aydın, Sultan Yıldız, Mehmet Özkan, Özgen Sadet, Yusuf Yurtgül and Yasemin Boyraz, as well as lawyer Sezin Uçar for "threatening and insulting". As part of the investigation, families of the victims and people injured in the bombing went to the police stations to give their statements.

"A fair trial was not conducted from the beginning"

Çağla Seven, an injured survivor of the massacre, and Mehmet Özkan, father of Uğur Özkan who died in the attack, give assessments of the investigation. Seven explained that the hope for peace, tranquility and brotherhood of the whole society was destroyed with the massacre, and that the aftermath of the terrible explosion still lingers. She blamed the state for the massacre and recalled that after the attack became the subject of a court case, an 18-month "confidentiality order" was placed on the file. Seven stressed that the case was misappropriated and the investigation was not conducted seriously: "A fair trial was not conducted from the beginning".

State involvement in the massacre

She went on to say that there is not just one suspect for the massacre and called for all the killers to be found and justice to be done. It was the families of those who lost their lives in the attack and those who were injured who would be brought to justice - not the perpetrators, said Seven and continued: "The government did not see the case as a massacre of society, but as if only some left-wing youths were affected. But we wanted to believe in comprehensive justice from day one."

"They pointed their guns at us in the courtroom"

Mehmet Özkan, who lost his son Uğur Özkan in the massacre, also stated that his demands regarding the case have been constantly rejected. Referring to what happened at the last hearing, he said: "They forbade the families who spoke at the last hearing to speak again when we were in court last time. They just want to close the case and be done with it. I told the judge that I have been coming to this trial for seven years. I had seven operations after my son was killed and I have several chronic illnesses. Even that didn't stop me from going to this trial. I have gone into debt to come here. How can I come here and not talk? We will talk. The judge then called soldiers to drag us out of the courtroom. They pointed their guns at us. In the courtroom! What kind of court is this? Has anything like this ever happened in any other country? They won't let us in with pens. But a whole company of soldiers stormed into the courtroom armed. They still want to kill us too."

He continued: "If they really wanted to clear up this massacre, they would not have lost the video footage of the attack. The video is still missing."