A couple, both lawyers and prominent names of Turkey’s human rights struggle lost their life under the rubble in the Hatay province after the two major earthquakes on Monday.
Hatice Can and her husband Mithat Can have worked for the Human Rights Association (İHD) for years.
The couple’s son struggled to find rescue teams to save his parents under the rubble. The crews reached the couple’s dead bodies on the fifth day after the devastating earthquake.
“We lost my mother Hatice Can and my father Mithat Can. They committed their whole life to rights’ struggle. They taught us how to live a dignified life. I thank everybody who reached out to us,” Eren Can wrote on Twitter.
As a lawyer, Hatice Can has followed critical human rights’ cases, including those of Yaser Can who committed suicide after being tortured by the police, of the families who lost their relatives in Hatay’s Reyhanlı district in 2013 due to the bomb attacks of the Islamic State (ISIS), and of Abdullah Cömert and Ahmet Atakan, who were killed during the 2013 Gezi protests.
“One cannot retire from struggle. I will keep on telling the truth until my last breath,” said Mithat Can, the İHD’s Honorary board member, in a 2018 interview with sendika.org.
Since 1968, Can spent more than 50 years struggling for social justice and human rights.
In 2018, the police raided then 73-year-old Can’s house and detained the veteran human rights activist for calling for peace and criticising the Turkish military’s incursion into Syria’s Afrin city.