Turkish police detain Saturday Mothers three weeks in a row despite top court ruling

Istanbul police have once again attacked and detained members of the civil initiative Saturday Mothers for three weeks in a row for wanting to make a press statement at Galatasaray Square. The move came despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the ban on the group is "unconstitutional."

Duvar English

Turkish police once again attacked and detained members of Saturday Mothers ("Cumartesi Anneleri" in Turkish) on April 22, and barricaded them and press at Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square for three weeks in a row.

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 16 people, including Human Rights Association (İHD) chair Eren Keskin.

The move came despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling that says the ban on meetings of Saturday Mothers is “unconstitutional.”

The police kicked the carnations put by the mothers out of the square.

“Our meeting place Galatasaray Square is ours. We're not going anywhere!” Saturday Mothers said and included that their right to peacefully protest cannot be preventend. The Mothers reminded that the police have violated the Constitution.

In the press statement, which the police did not allow to be read, Saturday Mothers said “We want our losses for real holidays,” referring to Eid al-Fitr. “While everyone is spending time with their beloved ones or visiting their graves, we are in Galatasaray this holiday too. We don't have a grave to visit. We call on those who run the state to fulfill their obligations regarding finding the disappeared ones under custody, explaining their fate, punishing the perpetrators and providing justice.”

“No matter how many years pass, we will not give up on Galatasaray, our meeting place with our disappeared ones, which has been forbidden to us for 244 weeks, to demand justice for all our losses, to remind the state to act within the universal legal norms,” they added.

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.

However, the Constitutional Court ruled that this ban imposed by the Beyoğlu District Governor’s Office is “unconstitutional.”