The police in Istanbul once again forcefully prevented the Saturday Mothers, a group demanding justice for their disappeared relatives, from protesting, despite a ruling by Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) acknowledging the violation of the group’s fundamental right to protest.
In the 954th week of their vigil, the Saturday Mothers once again marched to Galatasaray Square to seek answers about and demand justice for their missing relatives and call for the prosecution of the perpetrators.
Despite the AYM decision confirming that police crackdown is a violation of their rights to peaceful demonstration, the Saturday Mothers and rights defenders gathered at the heavily policed and barricaded Galatasaray Square were once again prevented from protesting.
This week’s demonstration, the 14th one since the AYM’s ‘violation’ decision, was attended by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu and the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) MP Ahmet Şık.
The police forcibly prevented the group from walking with carnations, a symbol of remembrance, resulting in the detention of 18 individuals who were put in handcuffs.
In parallel vigils held in Diyarbakır (Amed) and Batman (Êlih) on Saturday, demonstrators called for answers regarding the fate of Vedat Aydın and İsa Efe.
The Human Rights Association (İHD) Amed Branch and the families of the missing came together in Diyarbakır for the 752nd week of the “Find the Disappeared, Prosecute the Perpetrators” demonstrations. During this week’s vigil, the focus was on the perpetrators responsible for the abduction of Vedat Aydın, a Kurdish politician who was taken by JİTEM on 5 July 1991, and whose body was discovered on 7 July 1991.
JİTEM (short for Jandarma İstihbarat ve Terörle Mücadele, the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-Terrorism Unit), was an alleged clandestine intelligence unit operating within the Turkish Gendarmerie. It has been accused of carrying out extrajudicial activities, including kidnappings, torture, and assassinations, particularly during the 1990s in the context of the Kurdish conflict.
In his statement, Abdullah Zeytun, the head of the İHD Amed Branch, highlighted the remarks of Vedat Aydın, who himself would soon become a victim of similar crimes, as he spoke about “shadowy organisations operating in the region that should be exposed by the state. If the state fails to reveal the truth, it becomes complicit in the crimes.” Zeytun reiterated that despite 32 years having passed, this dark chapter remains unresolved.