On the first day of Eid al-Fitr, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members and Green Left Party parliamentary candidates of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed) visited the grave of Kurdish politician Vedat Aydın, whose 1991 murder remains unsolved to this day.
“The mindset that assaulted Vedat Aydın, his friends and our people that day, the mindset that turned Kurdistan into a bloodbath still continues its attacks,” said HDP Provincial Co-Chair Zeyyat Ceylan during the commemoration visit, adding that the struggle against this mindset still continues today.
Aydın and his companions “paved the way for the struggle of oppressed peoples,” the politician’s brother Veysi Aydın said, emphasising the importance of the approaching national elections as a part of this struggle.
Muslims traditionally visit the graves of their loved ones on Eid to remember them and to pray for their souls to find peace.
Aydın, one of the pioneers of the Kurdish political movement in Turkey, was born in 1953, in a Kurdish village in the Bismil district of Diyarbakır.
After the 1980 coup, he was imprisoned for four years. In October 1990, he was arrested again for a speech he gave in Kurdish at the Human Rights Association’s (İHD) general assembly in the capital Ankara. He testified in Kurdish at the first hearing in December that year and was acquitted.
At the time of his death, Aydın was serving as the provincial chair of the Diyarbakır branch of the People’s Labour Party (HEP) which was one of the first Kurdish parties in Turkey and was eventually shut down by a court in 1993.
His body was found two days after armed men identifying themselves as police officers forced him into a car on 5 July 1991. Aydın’s death has not been solved to this day.
At his funeral held in Diyarbakır on 10 July 1991, Turkish police opened fire on thousands of mourning people who had gathered. According to the statements of the then Diyarbakır Police Intelligence Branch Director, Hanefi Avcı, 23 people died.
In the following days, several protests were organised in Kurdish-majority cities. Nobody was charged with the killing of those who attended the funeral procession.