We send solidarity greetings to the Saturday Mothers and demand that they be allowed to continue to gather in Galatasaray Square, Istanbul, unmolested by the forces of the Turkish state. The courage of the Saturday Mothers has made them an inspiration for people in Britain and all around the world who care for human rights, justice and democracy. They must not be attacked, harassed or persecuted.
It is an alarming development when Turkey’s Interior Minister describes these women as being ‘exploited by terrorists’. The Saturday Mothers have held their peaceful protest for 23 years simply to ask the authorities to provide them with information on the fate of their loved ones who have been disappeared without trace in Turkey since the military coup in 1980. How does this benefit terrorism? How does a grieving mother’s request to learn of what happened to a missing child or husband justify a banning order, an attack with rubber bullets, tear gas and mass arrests? These are surely the actions of a government descending into the depths of depravity and fascism.
On 25 August and on 1 September 2018 police barricaded access to Galatasaray Square on the 700th and 701st occasions of the Saturday Mothers assembly. They were accompanied by MPs and representatives of journalists’ and human rights campaigners’ organisations. Their actions were totally peaceful but they were violently set upon by the police. The image of 82-year-old Emine Ocak being manhandled and seized by police officers was viewed across the globe. Emine’s son disappeared in 1985, the year that the Saturday Mothers’ actions began. She is desperate to know what happened to him after all these years. For acting as any mother would she was treated like a violent criminal, grabbed and arrested.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Saturday Mothers who deserve our full support. In this year, when we in Britain remember the sacrifices of the Suffragettes in their struggle for democratic rights, we know that women are the key to the future, for freedom and justice. Likewise, in Rojava we have witnessed the courage of the women in the forefront of transforming life in the Middle East for everyone who lives there. What an amazing achievement this is. The hope of humanity rests with the women.
We are proud to declare our Solidarity with the Saturday Mothers.
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign; Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC); Kurdish People’s Democratic Assembly in Britain; Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) UK; Brighton Kurdistan Solidarity; Women Alliance for Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria; Julie Ward MEP; Margaret Owen OBE, human rights lawyer; Dr Felix Padel, author; Dr Najde Al-Ali, professor of Gender Studies, SOAS University of London; Dr Derek Wall, Goldsmiths Unversity of London; Dr Radha D’Souza, Westminster University, London; Dr Thomas Phillips, Liverpool University; Christine Blower, NEU International Secretary; David Morgan, journalist; Roopa Tanna, Lawyer, Islington Law Centre; Greta Sykes, poet and author; Louise Regan, Ex-President, National Education Union, NUT section; Kariane Westrheim, Professor University of Bergen, Chair of EUTCC; Steve Sweeney, International Editor, Morning Star; Dr Amber Huff, University of Sussex; Dr Pat Huff, Birkbeck College; Nick Hildyard, policy advisor; Janet Biehl, author and translator; Clare Baker, International Officer, Unite the Union; Simon Dubbins, Director of International, UNITE the Union; Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federation of Trade Unions; Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer, GMB; Dr Felix Padel, Oxford University; Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor UNISON, Scotland; John Hunt, journalist; Dr Thomas J Miley, Cambridge University; Dr Johanna Riha, Co-Founder and First President of the African Society of Cambridge University; Jill Evans MEP; Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, researcher, writer; Prof Mary Davis Visiting Professor of Labour History at Royal Holloway, University of London; Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!/RCG; Jonathan Bloch, author;Seyhan Yuksel, human rights campaigner; Raghu Jayantiya, Indian Workers Association; Hagir Ahmed, human rights campaigner; Saleh Mamon,CAMPACC; Les Levidow, CAMPACC; Robert Aktkins, lawyer.
For information contact:
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596
Patrons: John Austin, Christine Blower, NEU 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, Dr Felix Padel, 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.