Hediye Özdemir’s house has been raided 200 times in 27 years. “The police even once raided our house to ask where was my husband when he was in prison”, she said
According to Mesopotamia Agency (MA) the Özdemir family migrated from the Eruh district of Siirt (Sêrt) to Mersin in the 1980s as a result of the pressure and regular house-raids by the police. Hediye Özdemir (55), whose house was recently again raided on 3rd November, told Mesopotamia Agency (MA) about the raids, detentions and arrests of 27 years.
More than 100 investigations
Hediye Özdemir said that the regular police raids started with the arrest of her husband Abdülaziz Özdemir for political activities 27 years ago. Özdemir eventually stayed in prison for 10 years. Two of her sons, İdris and Mahmut had to migrate to another country as a refugees because they had been given aggravated life sentences.”
Özdemir said that the houses they have lived in have been raided by the police more than 200 times and more than 100 investigations have been opened against her husband, children and herself.
Expressing that this pressure was directed against her children and family after her husband was arrested, Özdemir said: “My oldest son Mehmet Emin Özdemir has been detained and convicted many times. Then he had to live secretly for years. My other son, Ahmet Özdemir, was shot by the police during a demonstration. This was called an accident and my son was bedridden for seven years. While bedridden, he was sentenced to one year in prison due to the finalised prison sentence. My youngest son, Mahmut Özdemir, has also been detained and arrested many times. My other son, İdris Özdemir, has also been detained many times and eventually stayed in prison for 10 years. İdris and Mahmut had to migrate to another country as a refugees because they had been given aggravated life sentences.”
‘Our psychology is broken’
Özdemir stated that the police constantly raided their house to ask about her sons. “Every time they raid the house it is with a different reason. Young children are scared. Last week they raided our house and asked about my son Mahmut again. Our psychology is broken. These raids are inhumane. If a person commits a crime, you take him and punish him. Nobody has the right to punish a whole family. Our children are out of minds with this psychological pressure. It’s enough. Let this persecution and oppression end. Our house should not be raided anymore!” she said.
Explaining that the police are constantly making up excuses to raid their houses, Özdemir said, “They even raided our house and asked where was my husband who has been in prison for 27 years. We are tired of them raiding the house and taking someone every time. I had seven children, now there is only one left.”
Özdemir said that the attacks were also now directed against her grandchildren after her grandson Şiyar Özdemir went to the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) on 9th November and was attacked by unidentified people on the same day.
“We should have our identity”
Özdemir continued: “They want to give us the message that “You cannot take a step, speak nor live without us knowing.” A person who says he is a human being cannot deny himself. We did not choose this language and identity, God gave it to us. We are Kurds. Nobody has the right to say “whatever you are don’t be Kurdish”. Just because we are Kurds, it should not mean that we have to experience this persecution and oppression. No matter how much pressure is put on us, we should not deny ourselves. “No matter how much they come and oppress us, we will claim our identity more.”