Group not allowed to make statement on the International Day of the Disappeared

Group not allowed to make statement on the International Day of the Disappeared
Update: 30 August 2022 23:49
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Many people have been arrested as the Turkish police intervened to prevent a group from making a public statement in protest against forced disappearances in Turkey.

14 people were arrested in Turkey on Tuesday when a group gathered in an Istanbul cemetery to make a public statement on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared.

The group, led by the Human Rights Association (IHD) of Turkey and the Saturday Mothers who have been demanding justice for the victims of forced disappearances since the mid 1990s, gathered in the Altinsehir Cemetery where remains of Hasan Ocak whose disappearance in custody sparked protests in 1995 are buried.

The group was encircled by the police who announced that a public statement would not be allowed. In the process, the police also tried to prevent by force Musa Piroglu, a deputy for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), from joining the group.

Many people were arrested, including Gulseren Yoleri, chairwoman of IHD's Istanbul branch, and Saturday Mothers activists Maside Ocak, Hanife Yildiz and Besna Tosun.

About the Saturday Mothers

The first sit-in of Saturday Mothers’ was staged in front of Galatasaray High School, located on İstiklal street, Istanbul, on 27 May 1995.

Initially launched by a small group, the movement has eventually grown and turned into a struggle of great significance.

Although the groups sit-ins had to be suspended in 1999 due to increased oppression, they were relaunched in 2009.

1,352 people have been forcibly disappeared in Turkey since 1980, the year that marks the 12 September military coup.

The disappearances became a part of daily life especially in the 1990s as Turkish authorities used all means to suppress the growing Kurdish political movement.

In 1993 alone, 108 people were forcibly disappeared. In 1994, the number of cases rose to 532. In the following three years, respectively 235, 166 and 87 cases of forced disappearances were filed.