TURKEY : ICAD opens week for disappeared people

ANF – Istanbul 17.05.2013 – Turkey Branch of the International Committee Against Disappearances (ICAD) has started the activities of the “International Week against Enforced Disappearances in Custody” from 17-31 May with a sit-in in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square on Thursday.

The press statement for the sit-in was read by ICAD’s Turkey Representative Ayşe Yılmaz who started her speech by telling the story of 18-year-old struggle Saturday Mothers have been giving at Galatasary Square with weekly sit-in acts where they ask the fate of their children disappeared in 90’s.

“In 1995, Hasan Ocak, who was struggling against the fascist state of Turkey, was detained and disappeared in custody by Turkish police. Hasan’s family and his comrades achieved to reach his body as a result of an effective struggle which molded public opinion as well. The struggle they gave caught the state in the act and remarkably exposed the crime it had committed”, she said.

Yılmaz remarked that Saturday Mothers’ struggle, which left 420 weeks behind today, has also been supported by other mothers in Diyarbakır, Cizre, Batman and many other provinces in the Kurdish region who in the same way demanded the disclosure of the fate of their children. Yılmaz pointed out that the responsibility for the disappearance of 748 people in 90’s belonged to the leaders of the government at the time, including  Tansu Çiller, Mehmet Ağar and Süleyman Demirel. “Governments have changed but the attitude of the state still remains the same, despite the fact that some perpetrators, such as Ayhan Çarkın, confessed the crimes they had committed at that time. Speaking after Yılmaz, Hasan Ocak’s brother Ali Ocak said that “Disappearances in custody is the policy of reactionist regimes. The International Week against Enforced Disappearances in Custody aims to call attention to these policies”. Hanife Yıldız, mother of Murat Yıldız who disappeared in custody in 95, called on Turkish Prime Minister  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop ignoring the relatives of disappeared people.