Emine Şenyaşar and her son Ferit Şenyaşar have been protesting in front of the Urfa Courthouse in an attempt to seek justice for three members of their family who were killed by the relatives and bodyguards of İbrahim Halil Yıldız, a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
According to the Turkish media, both Emine and Ferit Şenyaşar are staging a sit-in in front of the courthouse demanding a fair trial and effective investigation of the incident. Ferit Şenyaşar said they would sit in front of the courthouse for months if necessary until they see all those who were responsible for the death of his father and two brothers brought to justice.
Esvet Şenyaşar and two of his sons, Adil and Celal, were brutally murdered on June 14, 2018 in southeastern Urfa province. They were initially attacked in their store and taken to a hospital. They were followed by the Yıldız family to the hospital, where they were ultimately killed. Eight more people were injured during clashes between the two groups. An older brother of Yıldız was also killed.
Ferit Şenyaşar said bullets from 17 different guns were retrieved from the body of one of his brothers, indicating the level of the massacre.
Two brothers of the Şenyaşar family, Ferit and Fadıl, who were injured but survived were later detained, and Fadıl Şenyaşar was arrested. However, none of Yıldız’s relatives or his bodyguards were detained despite the fact that three people had died.
Only 15 months later, on September 18, 2020 was Yıldız’s older brother Enver Yıldız arrested.
The Yıldız family claimed that the Kurdish Şenyaşar family had links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and that they had been victims of terrorism.
Speaking to the Evrensel daily, lawyer Hidayet Enmek said this was a calculated move in an attempt to smear the Şenyaşar family and justify their murders. “By saying that the Şenyaşar family is linked to the PKK, they are trying to gain public favor and influence the trial,” he said.
Ömer Öcalan, a deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), claimed that the Yıldız family had tried to use all their political connections in influencing the trial and changing the prosecutor. “Indeed, the prosecutor in the case was changed in the middle of the investigation,” he said. Öcalan added that the victims had been put in the position of perpetrators and that he would be closely monitoring the case.
Three months after Yıldız’s arrest an indictment was prepared; however, the details of Esvet Şenyaşar’s death were not included. Moreover, the shooting in the hospital was not included in the indictment, with only the events in the store covered.
According to lawyer Bülent Duran the trial was conducted in an unlawful manner. “Separating the two incidents in the shop and the hospital does not make sense, because the murders actually took place in the hospital. This was not just a brawl in the shop. We believe this is an attempt to cover up evidence incriminating the Yıldız family,” he said.
Emphasizing that the Şenyaşar family was clearly attacked in their shop and then executed in the hospital, Duran demanded a just process and effective investigation into the incident.
Duran added that the Şenyaşar family was only exercising self-defense, which was well within their rights, and that one of the brothers who was still in prison should be released pending trial.
Members of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD), the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) and several bar associations have accompanied the Şenyaşar family during the trials in a show of support.