For the tenth consecutive week, Turkish police have unlawfully banned the protests organised by the Saturday Mothers, a group of activists seeking justice for their relatives who disappeared in Turkey during the 1990s.
On this occasion, the police detained 19 individuals, including family members of the disappeared.
The demonstration, aimed at seeking information about the fate of their missing loved ones and demanding accountability for the perpetrators, has been taking place at Galatasaray Square for 951 weeks. Despite the rulings of the Constitutional Court deeming the ban on their protests as a violation, the Saturday Mothers have been consistently detained during their protests for the past 10 weeks.
As the Saturday Mothers, along with parliament members and activists, approached the square, the police encircled them, forcibly preventing their entry. Journalists attempting to document the events were subjected to physical assault and expelled from the vicinity.
During a speech delivered by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Pervin Buldan, the police frequently announced the ban issued by the Beyoğlu District Governorate.
In response to the arrests, Buldan, the wife of Savaş Buldan, who was found dead one day after his arrest on 3 June 1994, strongly criticised the violation of the Constitutional Court’s ruling and expressed her discontent. She proceeded to read a statement, emphasising the group’s rights as guaranteed by the constitution, laws, and international agreements, to demand the disclosure of the fate of those who have been missing for 28 years and the establishment of justice. Buldan underscored the persistent obstruction of their meetings at Galatasaray Square for the past five years, despite two Constitutional Court decisions that deemed the ban a violation of their rights. She highlighted the unlawful practices they have faced during their visits to Galatasaray Square over the past ten weeks, including being handcuffed and detained without any legal basis.
Following the end of the blockade, Buldan intended to provide further comments on the events to the journalists. However, during her speech, journalists were once again subjected to physical assault by the police.
The delegation subsequently left the square.