Saturday Mothers on Nov. 11 held their vigil at Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square without any police intervention and detention after five years. They have been demanding the fate of their relatives who disappeared under custody and the prosecution of the perpetrators since 1995.
The move came after Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya stated in the same week that Saturday Mothers who had been detained by the police for 29 consecutive weeks “experience victimization.”
In a statement, Saturday Mothers said they have been continuing “the longest struggle for truth and justice in these lands to draw attention to the reality of disappearances” in custody for 972 weeks and the policies of denial and impunity that “accompany this crime.”
“Our efforts have been hindered by police violence and detentions since Aug. 25, 2018. After more than five years, we, as relatives of the missing and representatives of the Human Rights Association, are at Galatasaray Square with carnations and photographs,” they said and demanded justice for Abdülkerim Yurtseven, Mikdat Özeken and Münür Sarıtaş.
What has happened?
Saturday Mothers 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.
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.
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 had been trying to make a press statement by leaving carnations at Galatasaray Square and had been detained by the police for 29 consecutive weeks.