NEWS BRIEFING September 2018

This edition includes a focus on the history and current situation of the Saturday Mothers Protest in Istanbul


  1. TURKEY: Listen to the Saturday Mothers
  2. Turkey: Mothers of Disappeared: Take Action
  3. Turkey: Authorities must ensure relatives of people forcibly disappeared can continue with their peaceful weekly vigil
  4. Istanbul riot police break up Saturday Mothers’ vigil
  5. Saturday Mothers
  6. Defiant 82-year-old co-founder of Saturday Mothers Emine Ocak vows to continue peaceful protest after arrest
  7. Turkish Probe Reignites the ‘Saturday Mothers’
  8. Saturday Mothers of Turkey
  9. Turkey: Clashes erupt as Saturday Mothers protest for missing
  10. Turkish families protest disappearances (“Saturday Mothers”), 1995-1999
  11. The Women of the Revolution: Inside the Kurdish Rojava Revolution
  12. Yezidis: A minority of genocides
  13. Murder in Shengal against Yazidis: Turkey, the KDP and the United States.
  14. Justice after genocide: The Ezidis
  15. Islamophobia is preventing the empowerment of Muslim women repressed by political agendas


  1. TURKEY: Listen to the Saturday Mothers
  2. 1 November 1998/Amnesty International
    Since May 1995 relatives of those who have “disappeared” in police custody have been holding a weekly vigil in Istanbul. Although the vigil has always been accompanied by police harassment it is only since May 1998 that the repression has escalated to the extent of preventing the continuation of the protest. This report gives details of some of the incidents of police violence and shows how they have consistently failed to investigate the “disappearances” in a thorough manner.
  1. Turkey: Mothers of Disappeared Take Action
    May 1995/Amnesty International

    Many cases of “disappearance” follow the patterns found in the five cases described below. Many people “disappear” because of their suspected political activities, legal or illegal. Particularly at risk are those active in organizations working to foster rights for Turkey’s Kurdish minority, estimated to number 10 million. Several victims had a history of repeated detention and ill-treatment by police. Some also reported prior to their “disappearance” that they received frequent threats. Other “disappeared” persons have refused to act as village guards. Although in many cases there is clear testimony from eye-witnesses that the victims were taken into custody by security forces, local police and prosecutional authorities seem hardly interested investigating the case.
  1. Turkey: Authorities must ensure relatives of people forcibly disappeared can continue their peaceful weekly vigil
    29 August 2018/Amnesty International
    Police in Istanbul used unnecessary and excessive force to break up a peaceful vigil by relatives of people who have been forcibly disappeared on Saturday 25 August 2018. The weekly peaceful vigil in Beyoğlu district was due to mark the 700th week of the protest since 1995 and is known as the “Saturday Mothers” vigil. The long standing peaceful vigil was first started as a protest by relatives of the hundreds of reported cases of enforced disappearances that took place during the 1980s and 1990s. In the vast majority of cases the exact circumstances of the disappearances are still unknown, including the fate and whereabouts of hundreds of victims, and those responsible have not been brought to justice.

4.     Istanbul riot police break up Saturday Mothers’ vigil
25 August 2018/DW .com
Istanbul police have broken up the 700th weekly vigil by Turkish mothers demanding accountability for disappearances of relatives since the 1980s. Tear gas was fired and dozens were detained while defying a protest ban.


  1. Saturday Mothers
    20 September 2018/Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
    The Saturday Mothers (Cumartesi Anneleri) is a group who gathers 12pm every Saturday for half an hour at Galatasaray (district)Istanbul (Turkey), holding photographs of their “lost” loved ones. Mainly composed of mothers of victims, and renowned as a model of civil disobedience, they combine silent sit-in with communal vigil as their method of protest against the forced disappearances and political murders in Turkey during the military coup-era of 1980s and the state of emergency rule of the 1990s. In September 2018, they held their 700th sit-in protest, which was violently disrupted and has not been allowed since. But decide to disrupt and ban this peaceful protest now?


  1. Defiant 82-year-old co-founder of Saturday Mothers Emine Ocak vows to continue peaceful protest after arrest
    28 August 2018/T Vine
    Mothers are sacred, not only according to Turkish customs, but also in the Islamic faith. Yet on Saturday 25 August, elderly mothers felt the full force of the Turkish authorities after failing to heed a ban on their weekly gathering in central Istanbul to peacefully demand news about the fate of their missing relatives. Dozens were detained, including 82-year-old activist Emine Ocak (pictured top), during the 700thvigil of Saturday Mothers. Three generations of families had joined Ocak and the other pensioners, gathering at their usual spot in Galatasaray Square on İstiklal Caddesi just before midday, along with trade unionists, journalists, rights activists and opposition MPs.

    7. Turkish Probe Reignites the ‘Saturday Mothers’
    22 October 2018/WE News
    With bright red carnations and laminated posters, the Saturday Mothers of Turkey sit in silence, demanding information about people who disappeared in the 1990s. Most of the missing were from Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast.

    8. Saturday Mothers of Turkey
    7 April 2010 Video

    After 10 years break the Saturday Mothers are back, asking the same questions they
    asked from 1995-1999…..

    9. Turkey: Clashes erupt as Saturday Mothers protest for missing
    25 August 2018/Ruptly

    Istanbul police clashed with Saturday Mothers, a group of activists and families of missing people, as demonstrators held the 700th weekly sit-in protest at Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square on Saturday. Police used tear gas to disperse protesters. At least ten activists were reported detained and several injured. Saturday Mothers and a group of activists gathered at the same place every Saturday for two decades to demand the whereabouts for those political activists who went missing during Turkey’s political instability period of the 1980-1990s.

    10. Turkish families protest disappearances (“Saturday Mothers”), 1995-1999
    1993/ Global Non-violent Action Database
    Many Turkish families know the horror of having a loved one simply disappear. From 1991 through 1994, more than one hundred Turkish citizens disappeared after being detained by police. Most, but not all, of the disappeared were Kurds from southeastern Turkey suspected of collaborating with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an independence movement of the historically oppressed Kurds. When families of the missing sought information from police, they were mocked, beaten, and often imprisoned. Many victims were eventually found alongside highways or in unmarked graves.


  1. The Women of the Revolution: Inside the Kurdish Rojava Revolution
    9 September/The Herald
    A remarkable story is unfolding that defies the usual narrative about Syria. In contrast to the misogyny and anti-democratic values of the jihadists of the Islamic State group, an extraordinary egalitarian and pluralist engagement is under way. Foreign Editor David Pratt goes to the heart of the Kurdish Rojava Revolution and meets some of the women making it happen.


  1. Yezidis: A minority of genocides
    20 August/The Region
    In April 2007, al-Qaeda hijacked a bus full of Yezidis, Christians, and Muslims in Mosul. The Christians and Muslims were sent home, while the Yezidis were all slaughtered in a bloodbath. Al-Qaeda then claimed to have sent twenty-three “devil-worshipers” to hell.
  2. Murder in Shengal against Yazidis: Turkey, the KDP and the United States.
    20 August/The Region
    The old adage that history repeats itself seems particularly apt at this moment. Four years ago, the world watched the heroic resistance of the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as they came to the defence of the Yazidi population that was under siege by the so-called Islamic State in the Shengal (Sinjar) region of northern Iraq.
  1. Justice after genocide: The Ezidis
    16 September/Kurdistan 24
    In 2018, I attended a lecture at SOAS University of London delivered by Phil Clarke discussing whether judicial review, relating to the 1984 genocide in Rwanda, was necessary. The talk made me question whether judicial review should be granted in respect to the two genocides perpetrated against the people of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, first in Halabja (1988) and, most recently, against the Yezidis (Ezidis) (2014).
  2. Islamophobia is preventing the empowerment of Muslim women repressed by political agendas
    5 September/The Conversation
    For many, Muslim veiling represents the oppressionof women in Islam. The head and/or face veils are a frequent topic of debate, which suggests that “saving” Muslim women from their oppressive religion is a moral duty of the West.


Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk

Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell
– Tel: 020 7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596

Patrons: John Austin, Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP,  Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director,  Jill Evans MEP, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Rahila Gupta, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert MEP, Elfyn Llwyd, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, International Coordinator, Green Party of England and Wales; Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Gareth Peirce, Maxine Peake, Lord Rea, Joe Ryan, Stephen Smellie, Steve Sweeney, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward MEP, Hywel Williams MP.

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