Istanbul police once again attack, detain Saturday Mothers for wanting to make press statement

Istanbul police on April 15 attacked members of the civil initiative Saturday Mothers for wanting to make a press statement at Galatasaray Square in Taksim and detained at least 12 people.

Duvar English

Despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the ban on meetings of Saturday Mothers ("Cumartesi Anneleri" in Turkish) is “unconstitutional,” the police once again attacked members of the civil initiative on April 15 and barricaded them at Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square.

The police did not allow the group to make a press statement, who have been gathering since 1995 to demand justice for their relatives who were allegedly disappeared and killed by undercover units.

The police detained at least 12 people and put them in the detention car. Among the detainees were Human Rights Association (İHD)’s Istanbul branch head Gülseren Yoleri and Faruk Eren, the head of journalists’ union Disk-Basın.

The activists placed the photos of their deceased beloved ones on the car’s windows and made a victory sign.  

After the detentions, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul MP Musa Piroğlu came to Galatasaray Square and recalled the Constitutional Court’s ruling. “Making a press statement is everyone’s basic right, and this right is being trampled on. Everyone should know that losses are still happening today. Just recently, Kurdish businessman Zeki Oğuz was detained and disappeared. Several people are still missing,” Piroğlu said.

The press statement that was not allowed to be read aloud by Saturday Mothers is as follows: “We are here as the human rights defenders and families of those who have not come back after they were detained by the security forces. We have been shouting for years at Galatasaray Square and saying ‘We want our missing ones and justice'.”

The group’s statement recalled that the Constitutional Court in February ruled that the Beyoğlu District Governor’s Office violated their rights by banning their 700th vigil.

“The District Governor’s Office needs to lift the ban on Galatasaray Square. It is the constitutional responsibility of the district governor’s office to immediately implement the Constitutional Court’s decision. We announce once again on our 942nd week: ‘We will never stop shouting ‘Where are our losses?’” the statement reads. 

In the 700th meeting in 2018, police attacked Saturday Mothers and detained 46 people. Since then, authorities do not allow the group to gather at the historic Galatasaray Square, and a permanent police barricade was stationed in the square with heavily armed security forces.