Saturday Mothers question the fates of the forcibly disappeared

Saturday Mothers question the fates of the forcibly disappeared
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The Saturday Mothers asked about the fate of Maksut Tepeli, who was lost after being detained 39 years ago. Relatives of the disappeared and murdered Cemal Geren protested in Diyarbakir and Batman.

Arti Gercek reports that the Saturday Mothers carried out their 932th week of protest online. Their protests are organized around the demand for the exposure and prosecution of the perpetrators of unsolved political murders in addition to information regarding the fates of their loved lost to enforced disappearances. In this week's protest, the Saturday Mothers asked about the fate of Maksut Tepeli (28) who on February 2, 1984 was wounded when shot at by police as he left a friend's house in Atasehir’s Kucukbakkalkoy district, then taken into custody and never heard from again.


Ikbal Eren, brother of Hayrettin Eren, one of those disappeared after the September 12 coup, read the statement of the Saturday Mothers. Noting that the state has been covering up the truth about the disappearances alongside the judicial authorities for years and has left the perpetrators unpunished, Eren said: “As if all this is not enough, [the state] employs a practice aimed at suppressing the voices of those who demand justice. It wants to punish those who demand justice under the guise of lawsuits filed with no legal basis under the influence of the political climate.”

Eren read the disappearance story of 28-year-old Maksut Tepeli. Narrating that Tepeli was a young teacher, Eren said that he was injured by police fire on February 2, 1984 while visiting a friend. Noting that Tepeli was taken to Gayrettepe Political Branch covered in a blanket when he should have been taken to the hospital, Eren said, “According to the statements of three witnesses detained on the same date, Tepeli was hospitalized after falling into a coma as a result of severe torture on February 5, 1984 at the Gayrettepe Political Branch and was never heard from again.”


Eren explained that 22 years after the incident, Tepeli's family and lawyers, who attempted to track him down, reached official documents showing that Tepeli had died in Haydarpasa Numune Hospital on February 6, 1984.

Eren continued: “Official authorities admitted that Maksut Tepeli had been buried in the potter’s field at Helvacidede. However, Maksut Tepeli's grave is still unclear because the burial place information has not been disclosed. To date, no effective investigation has been carried out regarding the disappearance of Maksut Tepeli in custody. Despite the witnesses and the documents, all three investigations opened on the complaint of the family resulted in non-prosecution. The identities of the police officers involved in the injury and torture and interrogation of Maksut Tepeli were determined, but a decision of non-prosecution was rendered for them.”


The case, which was brought before the court again by Tepeli’s family, who did not give up on a search for justice, and Gulseren Yoleri, a Human Rights Association (IHD) attorney, was closed in 2014 based on the fact that the state of limitations had run out


The Diyarbakir Branch of the IHD and the relatives of the disappeared gave a statement in front of the Kosuyolu Park Right to Life Monument in Baglar district on the 730th week of the "Find the Disappeared, Prosecute the Perpetrators” protest. During the demonstration, participants demanded to know the perpetrators of the disappearance of Cemal Geren who was lost after being taken into custody in the Cizre district of Sirnak on February 10, 1991. Diyarbakir IHD Board Member Firat Akdeniz reminded attendees that the Caglayan village of Cizre, where the Geren family resides, was burned by soldiers in the early 1990s.


Akdeniz stated that the Geren family moved to the district center where pressure against them continued and that one family member, Mehmet Geren, was detained and tortured countless times. Akdeniz continued as follows:

“Whistleblower Abdulhakim Guven and Adem Yakin, codename Bedran, who were employed in the district, were threatening Mehmet Geren to leave Cizre. The day after he was threatened, Mehmet Geren left Cizre and settled in Istanbul with his wife. Mehmet Geren was detained again in Istanbul and was not heard from for 12 days. His family, who was in Istanbul at that time to visit their son, went to the police station to ask about Mehmet Geren. Officials, who first told them that Mehmet was not there, later informed the family that he was in custody. Released at the end of the 12th day, Mehmet Geren left Istanbul and moved to Malatya. After a few years in Malatya, he was detained again and tortured. After this incident, Mehmet Geren moved back to Istanbul with his family.”


Reminding listeners that while Mehmet Geren's mother, father, and brother Cemal continued to live in Cizre, they never heard from Cemal again after he headed out to work, Akdeniz said, "For 25 days, his family did not receive any news about Cemal. On the 25th day of Cemal's disappearance, a person from the surrounding villages found a body near his field and reported the situation to the police station. The authorities at the police station tell the villagers who found the body to 'dig a hole and throw the body in,’ but the identity card found on the body reveals that the person was Cemal.”

Akdeniz said, "Because some villagers knew the Geren family, they wrap the body in a blanket and bring it to the hospital. Geren's body is delivered to his family there. The family is unable to take any legal action as they are being threatened at the time and fear for their lives. Thus, the Cemal Geren file has sat unsolved on dusty shelves since then.”


In Batman, the IHD Branch and the relatives of the disappeared came together on Gulistan Avenue for the 566th "Find the Disappeared, Prosecute the Perpetrators” protest. IHD Director Yunus Bagis spoke at the demonstration where the photographs of the disappeared were shown. Bagis made a statement about the attacks on Saturday Mothers.

Bagis, who stated that every attack against the Saturday Mothers will be condemned in the conscience and mind of society, said:

“These prohibitions which are in violation of the Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights will be punished in international courts, if not in national ones. We exclaim once again that the Saturday Mothers/People will never stop searching for those disappeared in custody and demanding justice for them, and that we, as human rights defenders, will always be the voice of the Saturday Mothers’ demands for truth and justice.”