The families of those exposed to enforced disappearance have been fighting for a long time to know the fate of their beloved ones and to bring the perpetrators to justice. This is also the never-ending struggle in search of truths and justice within our geography. They have been asking for a satisfying answer from the governments as to where their beloved ones are, and seeking justice. They have been gathering in front of police stations and courthouses, and in squares. Unfortunately, their rightful fight has been hindered by the state and the governments sin the very beginning. As human rights defenders and families of the disappeared, we state that it is not our choice to gather and to hold sit-in protests in Galatasaray Square and Koşuyolu Park, but what drove us to these places has been the impunity policy, which the governments have persistently conducted on behalf of the perpetrators.
As followed by all, since January 31, 2019, we have been staging sit-in events every Saturday in front of the Right to Life Monument located in Koşuyolu Park. It was banned for ‘security reasons’ and delayed indefinitely by the Diyarbakır Governorate after the 499th sit-in. This decision is arbitrary and violates our rights secured by the law. It contradicts all democratic norms. As part of the Freedom of Thought and Speech, right to assembly and demonstrate peacefully is the basis of a democratic society, and it contains private meetings, gatherings and protest marches in public places like streets, roads, and squares; banning these events is a grave violation of the right. All our sit-ins have been carried on peacefully so far and caused not a single problem related to ‘public security’.
We would like to ask –the authorities whoever banned the search of truth - what kind of a public security problem the families might have caused. .
We would like to state that those who arbitrarily overshadow the rightful efforts of families not only stand in the way to democracy but also protect the perpetrators.
The main purpose of our sit-ins taking place for 499 weeks is to make the Government face the facts of enforced disappearances and reveal the truth. The demand for facing the facts, justice, and truth has been responded anti-democratically and arbitrarily, which reflects the hesitance of the Government to sign and ratify the UN’s International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The state and the current Government abstain from signing the Convention, and through this attitude they pave the way for further disappearances and declare that they have no future plans to unearth the previous incidents.
Undoubtedly, no previous effort in history for justice is different from our present struggle. The fight of Plaza De Mayo Mothers in Argentina cannot be dissociated from the search for justice represented in Galatasaray and Koşuyolu Park. Indeed, the struggle of people who search for their beloved ones enforcedly disappeared through newspaper ads and the struggle of Saturday Mothers, who look for their beloved ones in the city squares are the same thing.
Therefore, we would like to restate that we will not let the truth be covered up by the Government’s banning the sit-ins. We will speak out for Truth and Justice and stand on the side of the families of the disappeared. We will not let the perpetrators get away with their crimes with the help of impunity policy, and we will never give up our righteous fight.
Once again, as a clear call on the State and the Government, all obstacles and bans in the way of the families of the disappeared must be lifted, and the mothers’ demand must be satisfied. All those intensive efforts hindering the struggles of the families must be transformed and used on behalf of the families
Diyarbakır Bar Association
Diyarbakır Medical Chambers
Human Rights Association, Diyarbakır Branch-İHD
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey-Diyarbakir Office- TİHV
Human Rights Initiative