Saturday Mothers review 2023 in last vigil of year as full of 'obstacles, detentions, and trials'

The Saturday Mothers on Dec. 30 held the year’s last vigil at Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square. The mothers and relatives of those lost under custody sought the fates of their loved ones for the 979th time and reviewed 2023 as a year of “obstacles, detention, and trial.”

Ferhat Yaşar / Gazete Duvar

The Saturday Mothers held 2023’s last vigil on Dec. 30 at the Galatasaray Square in Istanbul. The vigil statement reviewed 2023 as a year full of “obstacles, detentions, and trials” for the mothers and relatives of people who disappeared under custody. 

Human Rights Association’s Istanbul branch manager Zeynep Yıldız read the declaration on behalf of the protesters who have been demanding the fate of their relatives since 1995. 

“In 2023, we witnessed time and time again that the Constitution and the rule of law are disregarded. The government failed in its responsibility to uncover the fates of our humans who were lost in custody, and to punish the culprits,” stated Yıldız.

She continued, “We leave behind a year where the rule of law eroded, justice was abused by retributive political agendas, and the legal system incurred severe damage.”  

The protesters stated their New Year’s wish was to find their relatives. They emphasized their determination to resume searching for their relatives, and nurture hopes of finding them. 

The protesters have been unable to convene at the historic Galatasaray Square since 2018 until Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya’s November statement in line with the Constitutional Court ruling reopened the barricaded square for the Saturday Mothers. Since then, the weekly vigils have been taking place without police intervention. 

(English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)