Hidayet Enmek and Bülent Duran, the lawyers representing the Şenyaşar family in Turkey who are seeking justice over the murder of three of their family members, spoke to Mesopotamia Agency (MA) regarding the nature of their legal struggle.
Emine Şenyaşar’s husband, Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar and two of their sons, Adil and Celal, had lost their lives as a result of an armed attack by bodyguards and relatives of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP’s) Urfa deputy, İbrahim Halil Yıldız, during the election campaign in Turkey in 2018.
Emine Şenyaşar’s son Celal was shot dead at the crime scene. Later that day, the group aligned to Urfa deputy İbrahim Halil Yıldız, stormed the hospital where Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar and Adil Şenyaşar were recieving treatment after the attack. Both family members were then killed at the hospital.
Having lost her husband and sons in this manner in an armed conflict, Emine Şenyaşar has repeated her demand that the murderers of her family members must face justice. Emine and her son Ferit Şenyaşar have been participating in a sit-in protest for 24 days in front of the courthouse in Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa (Riha). During these 24 days, Emine and Ferit Şenyaşar have been detained three times. Today’s ‘police attack’ reportedly resulted in Ferit Şenyaşar being hospitalised.
Hidayet Enmek and Bülent Duran have been representing the Şenyaşar family during their legal struggle for justice and accountability. They believe that the Şenyaşar family’s case is “indicative of the state of justice in Turkey”.
They spoke to MA before the upcoming Şenyaşar case hearing, due to be held tomorrow on 2 April.
What are your opinions regarding the legal problems encountered in the case of the three murdered members of the Şenyaşar family?
If a murder is identified as a savage murder in the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), but it does not become a serious topic for investigation, this means that there is no justice in the country. The demand and call for justice comes not only from us – as the Şenyaşar family and lawyers – but also from everyone in this country. The justice the Şenyaşar family seeks has been turned into a social demand, given the circumstances.
Defining murder according to the law – which considers it to be a violent crime – results in heavier penalties. The situation in which murder is committed where more than one of the alleged perpetrators stands behind state authority makes it the most fatal of crimes. If this murder took place in a brutal form, this is an offense against humanity: this is defined, as such, in both TCK and international criminal law.
The murder was brutal and it was reportedly committed by the AKP deputy, his relatives and his bodyguards. The attack in the hospital was witnessed by public officers, including the police. Yet, for the past three years, the investigation has not been completed. Justice has not been achieved. The perpetrators have not been brought to justice for the crimes they committed.
Şenyaşar’s family has been accused of ‘terrorism’ charges. AKP deputy Yıldız has shared a video about Emine Şenyaşar accusing her with ‘organisation ties’ because she was visited by the committee from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). How do you evaluate that?
Since the first day of the investigation, there have been attempts link the Şenyaşar family to ‘an organisation’: the prosecutor tried to use this against us each and every time. That is why we demand a fair, objective committee to continue with the investigation. Their attempts failed and they were able to find no link to any organization, but still they try to criminalise our clients.
This is one of the problematic areas of politics; terrorizing people who are seeking justice. The Prosecutor’s Office has no intention of bringing the perpetrator(s) to justice, but they try to accuse the Şenyaşar family. A family, whose three members were killed and the other three members who could hardly save their lives.
The ‘shared video’ in question shows Emine Şenyaşar speaking in pain and anguish: there is nothing that could be evaluated as a ‘crime’ in this video. What you do see in the video is a pained mother who has lost her two sons and a pained wife who lost her husband.
On the other hand, there are discussions regarding judicial ‘reform’ and a ‘new constitution’ in the country. Where does the Şenyaşar family’s quest for justice stand in this process?
We are talking about a brutal murder here and an ineffective investigation that protects the perpetrators and accuses the victims. This is ‘where’ the case of the Şenyaşar family ‘stands’. All legal institutions are a part of that discussion, because this is a discussion regarding justice: a discussion regarding punishing the perpetrators of a murder. The law enforcement, the Prosecutor’s Office and the judicial authorities have to comply with the laws and have to act independently and fairly, but none of them have been able to do so. They do not fullfil their duties.
“I will not catch the perpetrator: this is Urfa” – The prosecutors of the investigation say this. This is a confession. So ‘reform’ discussions are not meaningful at all. Today, our demand for the judicial authorities is to apply the existing procedures and fundamental laws to reveal a crime against humanity.
Emine and Ferit Şenyaşar have been detained more than once during their peaceful protest. There is a great contradiction to be seen here. Political power has been used, if we are considering the ‘reform discourse’, in this way. Some steps related to reform have been taken in past years. Recently, however, the ‘reform’ in law has revealed that it has no correspondance in real life. In fact, no legal steps have been taken as part of the ‘reform’ discussions. So, there is no practical dimension to the legal ‘reform’ discourse.
The closure case filed against the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the detention of the family who has been engaged in a sit-in protest for justice and the policy of impunity, murder of children and similar social events show that legal ‘reform’ is nothing but rhetoric. Despite all of these concerns, we always have hope. We will never lose our faith in justice. We will continue our struggle for the implementation of the law until the end.