Serkan Alan / DUVAR
After five years from the Ankara October 10 Massacre, no official responsible for the massacre has yet stood trial. Families of the victims have said that the authorities have been acting “as if nothing happened.”Police received tip on possible ISIS attack days before deadly bombing in Ankara
A suicide attack outside Central Ankara railway station – blamed on ISIS – killed more than one hundred people and injured more than five hundred on Oct. 10, 2015. The massacre went down as the deadliest terror attack in modern Turkish history. The victims were largely supporters of the Kurdish oriented and liberal-left People’s Democratic Party (HDP). They had gathered to march for peace ahead of a national election on Nov. 1.
The victims' families demand that authorities let them hold a commemoration ceremony in front of the railway station this year, which they said could be prevented on the grounds of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“I am preoccupied with the thought of 'will we be able to hold a commemoration ceremony'? This is so unfair to me and the families,” said Mehtap Sakinci Coşgun, the president of the 10 October Peace and Solidarity Association – an organization founded by the victims' families.Police prevent Ankara bombing victims' families from holding peace gathering
There have been previous claims that Turkish intelligence services may have had advance knowledge of the attack and failed to act to prevent it.
The wife of one of the victims said that their demand for justice remains non-existent for the authorities. “I do not know if there is any other massacre case in which evidences are so out in the open but nothing has been done,” said Ali Kitapçı's wife Emel Kitapçı.
Kitapçı said that the then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davuoğlu had so much promised to lighten the incident but all he did was to “conduct politics through the victims.”
“One of the issues that angered me the most was that he pretended to have no role [in the incident], that he attempted to say something but then ended up not saying anything and that he attempted to conduct politics through us,” she said.Turkish Interior Ministry postpones all union, NGO events until December amid COVID-19 outbreak
Mehtap Sakinci Coşgun, who lost her husband Uygar Coşgun in the massacre, said that the families have lost their joy for life in these past five years and their pains remain as fresh as the first day.
“There is something that everyone knows who were at that place: Nothing would be the same as before. In the last five years, everything has gone worse. We are thinking what we should struggle for, how much more we should struggle for. This is a period in which those left behind have been harmed so much,” she said.
Coşgun said that despite the Interior Ministry's Oct. 2 decree banning all union and NGO events until the end of December amid the coronavirus outbreak, the victims will still hold a ceremony in front of the Ankara Train Station at 10.04 a.m. – when the attack occurred.
“We are against the idea that our commemoration ceremony can be also banned due to the pandemic decree. Commemoration ceremonies have so much meaning for us, and we will be there to remember [our beloved ones]. It gives us such much pain that barriers are placed in front of us and our pains are disregarded. I do not know if there is any other country in which families' pains are disregarded so much,” she said.
Coşgun said that she has been for weeks in contact with the authorities for them to let the families hold their ceremony. “We are putting so much effort just to have a five-minute long ceremony at the area,” she said.
The last hearing of the massacare case took place on Aug. 3, 2018, with the court sentencing 19 people to jail terms, varying between 7.5 years and aggrevated life imprisonment.
İlke Işık, one of the lawyers of the families, said that the government has been hiding behind the rhetoric of “this is just a massacre undertaken by ISIS and no more.” She pointed out that authorities have been saying “justice has been realized” by finding the 19 suspects and sentencing them to jail, without going deeper in the investigation.
“However we have been for the last five years saying that ISIS suspects are not the only ones responsible. Several public officials should be held accountable for causing this massacre to take place, for paving the way and shutting their eyes. As long as our calls are disregarded, we will not say that justice has been realized in this case,” she said.