Opposition MP brings Şenyaşar murder case before Parliamentary Human Rights Commission

For three years, the Şenyaşar family has sought justice for their three relatives killed in an attack by a ruling AKP lawmaker's bodyguards in eastern Turkey. Now, main opposition CHP MP Mahmut Tanal is bringing the case before the Turkish parliament’s Human Rights Investigation Commission.

This photo shows members of the Şenyaşar family.

Duvar English

After three years without justice, the Şenyaşar family murder case - in which three members of the family were killed by the bodyguards of a Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy in eastern Turkey - will be brought before parliament by opposition MP Mahmut Tanal.

According to reporting by daily Demokrat Haber, he is calling for the case to be investigated by the parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Commission.

On June 14, 2018, during his re-election campaign, AKP MP İbrahim Halil Yıldız and his brother and bodyguard, Mehmet Şah Yıldız, stopped by the Şenyaşar family market in the district of Suruç in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa. An argument between the AKP MP and the Şenyaşar family resulted in the killing of the bodyguard, Mehmet Şah Yıldız, the father of the Şenyaşar, Esvet Şenyaşar, and his two sons, Celal and Adil. Eight other people were injured. 

After an investigation into the incident, another of the Şenyaşar brothers, Fadıl, was arrested after recovering in the hospital. He was sentenced to life in prison for killing Mehmet Şah Yıldız and wounding eight others. 

Another brother of the AKP lawmaker, Enver Yıldız, who was also involved in the incident, surrendered to authorities in 2019 after 15 months on the run. He was sentenced to murder “under heavy provocation.” The AKP MP, İbrahim Halil Yıldız, has received no punishment. 

A separate investigation was launched into the murder of the three members of the Şenyaşar family. The investigation is still ongoing, but has been passed between eight prosecutors and has been made confidential by authorities. As a result, Esvet Şenyaşar’s wife, Emine, and their surviving son Ferit have staged a sit-in outside of the Şanlıurfa Courthouse since March 9, 2021. For the past 224 days, they have sat outside with placards that read “Adalet” - Justice. 

The two members of the Şenyaşar family have been detained five times since March for their protest. 

Lawmaker Mahmut Tanal of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said that the judicial process and investigation into the events of June 14, 2018, must be carried out. He says that because of the political connections of the Yıldız family, the Şenyaşar family did not receive their chance at justice. Emine and Ferit have become symbols of the intractably corrupt nature of the justice system in Turkey, he said. 

“Emine Şenyaşar's struggle for justice as a woman, mother, and wife for months has become a symbol of the lawlessness created by politics and the judiciary in Turkey [..],” Tanal said. “A fair trial could not occur because the perpetrators of the attack were politically protected.”

He further highlighted allegations that, after the attack, when Esvet and Adil had not yet passed away and were recovering in hospital, bands of attackers came and killed them. This possibility, Tanal said, is not even mentioned in court documents. 

“There are many grave allegations, such as the possibility that the injured [members of the Şenyaşar family] were attacked again by nearly 30 attackers who came to the Suruç State Hospital as they were being treated. Many of these attackers were not even mentioned in the indictment,” he said. 

He is requesting that the Human Rights Investigation Commission look into the incident and determine if the human rights of the Şenyaşar family were violated.