Muteber Gümüş is a mother who has been searching for her daughter’s remains for 26 years. Her daughter Aynur Gümüş was a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerilla who lost her life during an armed clash in 1995 in the Tatvan district of Bitlis. The family has been searching for their daughter’s body since then.
The father Ziya Gümüş passed away in 2003 without being able to find his daughers remains. Years later Mother Gümüş learned that 282 bodies in Garzan Cemetery were brought to the Istanbul Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) without informing the families. Garzan Cemetery which is in the village of Yukari Ölek (Oleka Jor) of Bitlis was demolished by the state on December 19, 2017, and her daughter could be among these 282.
For a long time, no one knew what happened to the bodies. Then it was eventually found out that the bodies had been buried in plastic containers under the sidewalks in Kilyos Cemetery.
So far only 21 of the bodies have been delivered to the families, the remains of the remaining loved ones are still buried under the sidewalk.
Muteber Gümüş immediately applied for a DNA test when she learned that her daughter could be buried there and applied to Bitlis Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. She gave the DNA samples, but although 2 years have passed, she has not received any response yet.
She explains what she has been through all these years to the Mesopotamia News Agency as follows:
“We had to leave our village in Tatvan 1993 because of Turkish state pressure. Our children grew up under this pressure. My husband was arrested and I moved to Istanbul with my children. All these years were full of pain and now I demand the remains of my daughter, but the state does not give.”
Mother Gümüş thinks that the reason for the state pressure against Kurds is because of fear.
“The state is afraid of even a Kurd’s funeral. If they weren’t afraid, they wouldn’t do that. They are not afraid of God, but they are afraid of the bodies of our children. I cannot find words to say about those who are not afraid of God. We want the remains of our children. We do not accept this insult. We want to be free” she says.