Turkey’s Saturday Mothers announces 701st gathering in İstanbul despite ban

The Saturday Mothers announced on Friday that they would be at Galatasaray Square for their 701st weekly gathering on Saturday despite a prohibition by the Turkish Interior Ministry, according to a report by Bianet.

“We as the relatives of the missing ones will be at Galatasaray Square in our 701st week like every Saturday. We will not give up searching for our missing ones and demanding justice until the fate of the last person who disappeared in custody of security officers is explained and delivered to his or her family and all perpetrators are brought to justice,” said the Saturday Mothers.

The Human Rights Association (İHD) İstanbul branch Commission against Disappearance in Custody has declared that they will be at Galatasaray Square in Beyoğlu, İstanbul for the 701st weekly protest as well.

Relatives of the missing people, rights defenders, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies Garo Paylan, Serpil Kemalbay, Murat Çepni, Hüda Kaya, Züleyha Gülüm, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu and a large number of journalists attended in the press conference held in İHD’s İstanbul Branch.

İHD İstanbul branch Chair Gülseren Yoleri said they will always stand by relatives of the missing ones in their struggle.

The statement was read out and the demands were listed by a mission person relative Maside Ocak. She stated that they reiterated the following four demands during 699 weeks: “Explain what happened to the people who disappeared in custody; Put an end to impunity, which protects the perpetrators of the crime of disappearance in custody; Let’s no one disappear in custody again; Turkey should sign and implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.”

Meanwhile, Saturday Mothers have reportedly made an application to meet with Turkish President  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Families of Fehmi Tosun, Cemil Kırbayır, Hayrettin Eren, Hüseyin Taşkaya, Hasan Ocak, Rıdvan Karakoç and Ferhat Tepe who were disappeared under the custody of security forces in the 1990s asked for an appointment with Erdoğan on behalf of the Saturday Mothers via fax they sent on Friday.

In the petition, the families said that “Finding our missing ones and securing justice is the state’s duty. Due to negative approaches of the minister and government officials, our addressee is you who pledged to the old mothers in the meeting held on February 5, 2011, to find a solution by saying that ‘Your problem is my problem’.”

The families stated that since May 27, 1995, they want to be informed about their relatives, whose existence have been denied since they were detained by law enforcement officials, and they demand that those whose made them disappear be punished through a fair trial.

They recalled that 7 years and 8 months have passed over their meeting with then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, they said that despite Parliamentary Commission’s report of disappeared people no legal action has been taken yet on Cemil Kırbayır case.

They also said that they have not witnessed any progress concerning the truth being revealed and justice being secured. The families also expressed that the police intervention in the 700th rally last Saturday damaged their hope in justice.

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