Turkish activists who have been drawing attention to politically motivated kidnappings and disappearances of family members for 28 years were able to organize a meeting for the first time in five years on Saturday.
These are the so-called “Saturday Mothers” – a reference to the activists from the beginning. These were often the mothers of the victims.
The group met for the 972nd time earlier Saturday. Meetings are traditionally held halfway across Istanbul’s busiest shopping street. In 2018, the meeting was banned because, according to local authorities, no permission was requested.
At the beginning of this year, the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled that the ban violated the fundamental rights of “Saturday Mothers.” Over the past 29 weeks, activists have tried to gather again. Until this Saturday, the police had stopped them every week and taken them in for questioning, much to the dismay of lawyers and opposition politicians.
According to Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, the group is being subjected to injustice and a solution will be found soon.
According to the Turkish human rights organization IHA, more than 4,000 people disappeared and nearly 350 were killed in the 1980s and 1990s. This often involved kidnappings and executions by Turkish intelligence special teams. The victims were mostly Kurds.
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