Saturday Mothers demand justice for Hasan Ocak

Hasan Ocak disappeared on 21 March 1995. His family is seeking justice and the truth for  24 years.

The Saturday Mothers tried once again to reclaim their space, Galatasaray Square, today to stage their 730th sit-in to demand justice and the truth about their relatives who disappeared while in State forces’ custody.

Police once again prevented the Mothers from meeting in Galatasaray, so they held their action in front of the Human Rights Association (İHD) Istanbul Branch.

The whole street was closed off by the police as it has been happening since week 700 when the authorities first banned the peaceful actions.

HDP Istanbul deputy Oya Ersoy, CHP Istanbul Deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, as well as a large number of people joined the sit-in.

This week the story of Hasan Ocak was told. He disappeared after being detained on 21 March 1995, and his body was then found in the Cemetery of the Nameless.

This week’s press release was read by Besna Tosun, daughter of Fehmi Tosun who disappeared while in custody.

The story of Hasan Ocak

Hasan Ocak was 30 and known for his socialist ideas. He disappeared on 21 March 1995 when he was taken into custody.

“Two people who were detained in the Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Istanbul Security Directorate said that they saw Hasan in the same branch. Both people said they saw Hasan Ocak's name on the fingerprint list. A witness, who was detained because of Newroz celebration, and who himself was a relative of a disappeared, said that he had heard someone saying that Hasan Ocak has been brought in.

The Ocak family appealed to the prosecution offices demanding to know what happened to Hasan.

The family went also to the Grand National Assembly, Prime Ministry, Ministries, Prosecutors' offices, hospitals and forensic medicine.”

As a result of all these initiatives taken by the family, said Tosun, they were told by the authorities in writing that ‘Hasan Ocak was not in custody, he was never detained and he was not wanted’.

After 58 days of constant searching against all the obstacles put forward by the authorities, Hasan’s family reached Altınşehir Cemetery of the Nameless, where they eventually found Hasan’s body. He was bearing heavy torture marks, and severe burn marks. After the torture and his death, Hasan had been thrown in the graveyard of the unidentified people. Hasan had been listed in the official reports of death under the torture, and yet his family was lied to by the highest authorities.

Algan Hacaloğlu, the State Minister in charge of Human Rights at the time, said: “They detained Hasan Ocak to get him to talk, and they threw his body at Beykoz after they tortured and beaten him.”

He also added that the State had a responsibility for Hasan Ocak's death, that some elements of the State knew how Ocak was killed and who killed him.”

The family brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to establish whether adequate and effective investigation was conducted to determine the conditions related to the death of Hasan Ocak. Despite the verdict against Turkey, said Tosun, the family of Hasan has yet to achieve justice.

“We won’t give up

Tosun ended her remarks by saying: “We call for Hasan Ocak’s investigation, which has been left at the prosecution office and the Ministry of Justice for 24 years, to be transformed into a case which will reveal the material truth and bring punishment to those responsible. We will not give up our search for justice and the truth for our disappeared people.”

Hasan’s brother

Gülseren Yoleri, the lawyer of the Ocak family, said: “We will continue to follow the case until justice is done.”

Hasan Ocak's elder brother Ali Ocak said: “We would like to thank everyone who stayed beside us in our 24-year struggle. I call on those who prevent justice and truth from being revealed to be ashamed when you lose the feeling, you lose your humanity.”

Hasan’s mother

Hasan Ocak's mother, Emine, reiterated that she will continue to fight for justice and the truth for her son and all the disappeared people of this country.

Hasan’s sister

Hasan Ocak's sister, Maside Ocak, recalled the images of Hasan Ocak, which were published on social media, and said: “You have all seen the smiling face of Hasan. 24 years later the state authorities are investigating those who helped and stood beside us. At least we have a grave to go to, a grave we found after 58 days of search. But other families of disappeared don’t even have the comfort of a grave. We are here because, as we said when we started this action, we will go on until the last of the disappeared has received justice and truth.”