Turkish police disregard top court ruling for 27th week, detain at least 24 during Saturday Mothers’ vigil

Turkish police have prevented Saturday Mothers’ vigil in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square despite the Constitutional Court ruling for the 27th week in a row and detained at least 24 human rights defenders.

Ferhat Yaşar / Gazete Duvar

Turkish police once again attacked and detained members of Saturday Mothers ("Cumartesi Anneleri" in Turkish) on Oct. 14 for the 27th week in a row, and barricaded them and press at Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square.

The police detained at least 24 human rights defenders who wanted to make a statement regarding their lost relatives.

The police also closed Istiklal Avenue, where Galatasaray Square is located, in both directions.

This is the 2th time the police have intervened in the vigil despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling saying the ban on meetings of Saturday Mothers is “unconstitutional.”

What had 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 have been trying to make a press statement by leaving carnations at Galatasaray Square and have been detained by the police.

(English version by Alperen Şen)