Dozens detained in police attack on Saturday Mothers in Istanbul

Despite a contrary ruling by the Turkish Constitutional Court, Istanbul police have again attacked the Saturday Mothers' gathering at Galatasaray Square. Dozens of people were taken into custody in the crackdown.

Turkish police have again attacked the Saturday Mothers at Galatasaray Square in Istanbul. The initiative wanted to make a statement for the 964th time on "disappearances" in state custody and demand punishment for the perpetrators on Istiklal Avenue. But despite a contrary ruling by the Turkish Constitutional Court, the blockade of their ancestral rally site was not lifted today either. The Galatasaray Square on the central Istiklal Avenue was widely cordoned off by barriers and grids in the early morning, with patrol cars and prisoner transport vehicles parked in the side streets. Riot police were deployed with a large contingent to prevent the group from approaching the square.

On their way to Galatasaray Square, the Saturday Mothers were accompanied by numerous human rights defenders, including the Human Rights Association (IHD) President Eren Keskin, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) Representative Ümit Efe, Green Left Party MP for Ağrı, Heval Bozdağ.

From different starting points in the central district of Beyoğlu, the participants and people in solidarity marched along Istiklal Avenue to the front of Galatasaray Square. However, the area was widely cordoned off by barriers and grids.

A large contingent of riot police surrounded the group to prevent the symbolic site for the struggle for human rights in Turkey from being entered by the Saturday Mothers. Over forty people were handcuffed and taken into custody, some with their hands tied behind their backs.

Green Left Party MP Heval Bozdağ described the police action as torture and said that there was no reason to carry out forcible detentions, as there was no resistance on the part of the people concerned. Bozdağ also criticised the security authorities for ignoring a ruling by the Constitutional Court by banning the Saturday Mothers' vigils.