A Turkish court has ruled for the continued detention of Fadıl Şenyaşar, imprisoned over an 2018 altercation in which four people were killed including Şenyaşar’s two brothers and father, and the brother of an MP from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP). The family have pledged to take their two year- long justice vigil for Şenyaşar’s innocence to capital Ankara.
Speaking out against the charges, Fadıl Şenyaşar said, “I refuse to accept being held in custody for 5 years. These are false accusations against me,” referring to the indictment filed against him in the case.
Şenyaşar stressed that the firearm used to kill the MP’s brother, Mehmet Şah Yıldız, could not be found. “If the gun were discovered, it would confirm that I did not discharge it. The fact that they are concealing the weapon further proves my innocence,” he said, requesting his release.
The Şenyaşar family announced recently that they would take their justice vigil to Ankara if Tuesday’s trial failed to deliver justice. They have been holding a daily vigil in Urfa (Riha) since March 2021.
The Kurdish family demand the arrest of the former Justice and Development Party (AKP) MP İbrahim Halil Yıldız, whom they hold responsible for the murders, and demand justice for Fadıl Şenyaşar, who was sentenced to a sentence over twice as long as the main suspect for the three Şenyaşars’ murder.
Immediately after the incident Fadıl Şenyaşar was the only person arrested and subsequently sent to prison to await trial. He was severely injured and undergoing treatment for his injuries when he was arrested.
Despite issued warrants no members of the Yıldız family were arrested until named suspect Enver Yıldız, a surviving brother of the AKP MP, presented himself to authorities in September 2019.
In April 2021, Fadıl Şenyaşar received a 37-year, 9-month sentence for first degree murder, while Enver Yıldız was sentenced to 18 years for involuntary manslaughter.
The Şenyaşar family argues that Mehmet Şah Yıldız’s death resulted from an act of self-defence. Evidence, including CCTV footage and witness testimonies, suggests that Yıldız was the initial shooter, and the source of the fatal bullet remains unclear, possibly originating from a Yıldız family member’s weapon.
Originally, the murder case was split into two files, one for the initial incident at the Şenyaşar family shop and another for subsequent attacks at a hospital, but they were later merged during the proceedings. The final judgement for Fadıl Şenyaşar will be determined in the consolidated trial.
The case remains a flashpoint for Kurdish rights and justice in Turkey.
The incident occurred on 14 June 2018 during an election campaign visit by the AKP MP Yıldız to shopkeepers in Urfa’s Suruç (Pirsûs) district.
The initial altercation, involving Yıldız’s relatives and bodyguards at the Şenyaşar family shop, resulted in the death of Adil Şenyaşar, one of Ferit’s four brothers, as well as Mehmet Şah Yıldız, a brother of the AKP MP. Two other Şenyaşar brothers sustained injuries and were hospitalised.
When parents of the brothers, Emine and Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar received news of the incident and rushed to the hospital, the family were once again attacked by Yıldız’s relatives.
Both Hacı Esvet and his son Celal, who had already sustained injuries in the shop altercation, lost their lives in the second attack inside the state hospital.