Turkey’s Saturday Mothers, a group that has been holding vigils for their relatives who disappeared or were killed in suspicious circumstances in the 1990s, held its 802nd weekly demonstration online due to the novel coronavirus.
The group said in its weekly statement on Aug. 8 that the murder of Kurdish journalist Ferhat Tepe in 1993 is another example of the cases of impunity that the Turkish judiciary has refrained from taking steps necessary to bring the perpetrators to the court.
“The state’s denialist attitude in the face of enforced disappearances is not only keeping the fate of our lost ones’ in dark but also is resulting in a widespread immunity for security forces that are committing crime. This situation of immunity, which is paving the way for illegal and arbitrary procedures and decision, is laying the foundation for the security forces to commit crimes against the citizens and thereby threatening the whole society,” the group said.
The group, which is Turkey’s longest-running peaceful protest movement, called on authorities to englighten the case of Tepe, a reporter for now defunct pro-Kurdish Özgur Gündem newspaper who disappeared on July 28, 1993. The meeting was also attended by Ferhat Tepe’s sister Ayşe Tepe, mother Zübeyde Tepe and father İshak Tepe.
Tepe’s family said during the statement that Ferhat was abducted “by gangs supported by the state.” Father İshak Tepe said he frantically searched everywhere for his son and the state institutions did not do anything to punish the killers of the young journalist.
Shortly after Ferhat Tepe’s disappearance, his parents received a phone call and they were told the Turkish Revenge Brigade (“Türk İntikam Tugayı”) had kidnapped the journalist. Despite the family’s efforts calling on the state to help them, the young journalist’s body was found in August of 1993.
İshak Tepe said that he had likened the voice on the phone to that of Tatvan Brigade Commander, Korkmaz Tağma. In 2018, Tağma requested an access ban on the news concerning the incident and the request was accepted by the court.
Legal process concerning Tepe’s death has remained inconclusive for long years. The case was referred to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Turkey was ordered to pay compensation for the violation of the right to life and of the right to an effective remedy. However, no perpetrator has stood trial so far.