Five years after seeking justice for the devastating loss of three family members at the hands of gunmen linked to a member of Turkey’s ruling party, Ferit Şenyaşar, the newly-elected MP of the Green Left Party, has pledged to carry on his struggle for justice even within the halls of parliament.
Joining his mother on the 805th day of their justice vigil in front of the Şanlıurfa (Riha) Courthouse, Şenyaşar said on Monday he would hang their banner reading “Justice” in the parliament, if the new Minister of Justice fails to fulfil his duties.
“For the past five years, we’ve been fighting for justice,” declared Şenyaşar. “For 805 days, we have persevered in front of the Şanlıurfa Courthouse, where justice seems to have vanished. From now on, I will continue our fight for justice in Ankara, and my mother will steadfastly carry on our struggle here in front of the courthouse until justice prevails.”
Addressing the recent change in the Minister of Justice, with Yılmaz Tunç assuming the role, Şenyaşar expressed deep concern over the prevailing injustice in the country. He urged Tunç not to accept congratulations, emphasizing that the rule of the privileged appeared to overshadow the rule of law.
The MP also expressed profound disappointment with the officials they had previously met, who had promised that the truth would emerge “in due time,” but progress had been agonizingly slow.
The tragic incident occurred on 14 June 2018, when Ferit Şenyaşar’s brother, Adil Şenyaşar, was killed in the Suruç (Pirsûs) district of Şanlıurfa during an election campaign visit by AKP MP İbrahim Halil Yıldız. A violent altercation erupted between Yıldız’s relatives and bodyguards and the Şenyaşar brothers at their family shop, resulting in the death of Adil Şenyaşar. Two other brothers were wounded and subsequently hospitalised.
When the brothers’ parents Hacı Esvet and Emine Şenyaşar heard about the incident and went to the hospital, Yıldız’s relatives came to the hospital and attacked the family once again. The father Hacı Esvet and his son Celal, who had been wounded in the first attack, were both killed in this second attack.
The only person arrested after the incident, in which the father and two sons of the Şenyaşar family were killed, was Fadıl Şenyaşar, who was severely injured and still being treated in hospital. No one from the Yıldız family was arrested despite warrants being issued for them, until a brother of the AKP MP, Enver Yıldız, who was a named suspect, went to the courthouse with a team of 50 bodyguards and turned himself in in September 2019.
Fadıl Şenyaşar, who had lost three members of his family and had been in jail since the day of the incident, was sentenced to 37 years and 9 months at a hearing in the case in April 2021, while Enver Yıldız received 18 years .
The incident sparked outrage in the region, with many accusing the government and its supporters of complicity in the attack. The case has been marred by allegations of government interference and a lack of progress despite the shop’s CCTV footage and calls for a thorough investigation.
Ever since, Emine and her son Ferit have been holding a daily vigil outside the Şanlıurfa Courthouse, supported by siblings Mehmet Şenyaşar and Perihan Yüzügüldü.
The case remains a flashpoint for Kurdish rights and justice in Turkey.