Turkish police temporarily detain Saturday Mothers in Galatasaray Square despite top court’s ruling
Turkish police temporarily detained 15 members of Saturday Mothers in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square on April 8. On Feb. 23, the Constitutional Court ruled that the ban on the group is "unconstitutional," who have been gathering in Galatasaray Square since 1995 against enforced disappearances of their relatives.
Turkish police temporarily detained 15 members of Saturday Mothers, including Human Rights Association (İHD) chair Eren Keskin, in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square on April 8.
Later, Saturday Mothers announced on their social media accounts that the detainees were released.
Galatasaray Meydanı'nda gözaltına alınan 15 Cumartesi Anneleri / İnsanları serbest bırakıldı— Cumartesi Anneleri (@CmrtesiAnneleri) April 8, 2023
AYM kararını uygulayın! Kayıplarımızdan ve Galatasaray Meydanı'ndan vazgeçmiyoruz!#CumartesiAnneleri941Hafta pic.twitter.com/T03W7f6rjp
The move came despite the Constitutional Court's ruling on Feb. 23 that the ban on the group who have been gathering in Galatasaray Square since 1995 against enforced disappearances of their relatives is "unconstitutional."
"Comply with the Constitutional Court's ruling, stop violating our freedom of assembly, and immediately lift the blockade on Galatasaray Square," Saturday Mothers said in a statement after the detentions.
“Upon the application of Maside Ocak, a relative of the disappeared, the Constitutional Court ruled that our right to organize meetings and demonstrations under Article 34 of the Constitution was violated,” they added.
The group emphasized that the reasons given by the authorities for banning the Saturday Mothers' meeting were not justified and convincing, and said “The Constitutional Court underlined that our desire to hold a sit-in and a press statement in order to find our missing persons and raise public awareness must be respected in a democratic society.”
AYM kararına uyun, toplanma ve basın açıklaması yapma özgürlüğümüzü ihlal etmeye son verin, Galatasaray’daki ablukayı derhal kaldırın!#CumartesiAnneleri941Hafta— Cumartesi Anneleri (@CmrtesiAnneleri) April 8, 2023
They concluded their statement, “In our 941st week, we cry out once again: We will continue to search for our disappeared relatives, to ask about their fate, to demand the punishment of the perpetrators, and to demand a just legal system. We will not give up our rights and freedoms.”
In the 700th meeting in 2018, police attacked Saturday Mothers and detained 46 people. Since then, authorities do not allow the group to gather in the historic Galatasaray Square, and a permanent police barricade was stationed in the square with heavily armed security forces.