A court in Turkey’s southeastern Şanlıurfa (Riha) province has ordered Emine Şenyaşar to pay compensation to the former MP whose family members and bodyguards were involved in the kiling of several members of her family in 2018, Mezopotamya Agency reported.
The case over insulting a public official is based on reports prepared by security forces on the grieving mother’s comments, which she has denied having made and argued in court that a civilian authority should have been tasked with preparing a neutral report.
“Even if it was established that my client used the alleged words, they should be considered words of a mother in pain of the massacre of her husband and two children. The alleged insults should also be considered in light of freedom of expression,” Şenyaşar’s lawyer Ali Arslan said during the hearing.
The court rejected the defence’s appeals, saying a civilian report was not necessary, and issued a fine of 1,700 liras ($60) for Şenyaşar, who has maintained her demand for justice for the killings. The sentence was deferred.
Since she started a justice vigil in 2021, Emine Şenyaşar has been subjected to 31 investigations, 10 of which have continued into lawsuits. Her most recent sentence to pay another 8,000 lira fine on similar charges came in June, and this sentence was also deferred.
The Şenyaşar justice vigil began in Şanlıurfa in March 2021, when family members were indicted for attempted murder, while the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) MP İbrahim Halil Yıldız’s family were not held to account for the Şenyaşar family’s losses.
Yıldız had been campaigning in his election district ahead of Turkey’s 2018 general elections when an argument over the Şenyaşars refusing to support the politician turned into a shootout at the family’s shop. Several people were injured in the original attack, and father Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar and sons Celal and Adil Şenyaşar were killed in a second armed attack at the hospital emergency room they were receiving treatment in. The hospital attack also resulted in the death of MP Yıldız’s brother, Mehmet Şah Yıldız.
Emine Şenyaşar’s son Fadıl, himself severely injured in the twin attacks, was sentenced to 37 years in prison for attempted murder, while MP Yıldız’s brother Enver Yıldız was deemed to have “committed a crime under undue provocation”.
As the family continued their pursuit of justice, Ferit Şenyaşar, the fourth son in the family, ran for parliament in the May elections this year and won. Since his election, the mother-son duo have continued a separate vigil in capital Ankara in front of the Justice Ministry, taking breaks only when the elderly mother had growing health issues.