CHP MPs join Saturday Mothers’ vigil as 31 temporarily detained

Turkish main opposition CHP’s five deputies have joined Saturday Mothers’ vigil to protest the continuous detention of human rights defenders despite the Constitutional Court's ruling. The police temporarily detained 31 people during the weekly vigil.

Turkish police once again blockaded Saturday Mothers and their supporters on Aug. 12.

Duvar English

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Gökçe Gökçen, Türkan Elçi, Kayıhan Pala and Suat Özçağdaş on Aug. 12 joined the weekly vigil of Saturday Mothers who have been staging sit-in protests at Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square since 1995 demanding the fate of their relatives who disappeared under custody and the prosecution of the perpetrators.

The police once again detained human rights defenders during the vigil despite the top court’s ruling. 31 people were later released during the day.

The Constitutional Court (AYM) on Feb. 23 ruled that the ban of the Beyoğlu District Governor’s Office on the 700th-week gathering of the Saturday Mothers and the police intervention against it was a “violation of the right to organize meetings and demonstrations.”

Every Saturday since April after the AYM’s ruling, Saturday Mothers have been trying to make a press statement by leaving carnations at Galatasaray Square and have been detained by the police.

CHP Diyarbakır Deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu said “court rulings are not implemented on this street in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. Officers commit crimes.”

“Saturday Mothers have been detained here for the 20th week. We have two separate constitutional decisions given by the Constitutional Court regarding this issue. There are also decisions of the European Court of Human Rights,” Tanrıkulu said. 

CHP Istanbul Deputy Suat Özçağdaş said “Beyoğlu District Governor is clearly committing a crime. Law enforcement officers also commit crimes by order of Beyoğlu District Governor. People who want to voice their concerns peacefully and ask where their missing relatives are, are taken away in handcuffs.”

CHP İzmir Deputy Gökçe Gökçen said “They blockaded people who just want to make their statements. Then (the police) detained everyone. We see it in many places, how they bring and detain murderers, how they are treated or released (in quite the opposite way).”

CHP Bursa Deputy Kayıhan Pala said "Again, we are faced with new proof that there is no freedom of expression in the country. There is an autocratic regime in which the Saturday Mothers are not even allowed to make their statements to the public."

In a statement, Saturday Mothers said “We are empowered by our absolute legitimacy, you cannot intimidate us. We will not give up our demand for truth and justice, nor will we give up on Galatasaray.”