Saturday Mothers issue a call for the 1000th week of their action

The Saturday Mothers' struggle for justice for their relatives will enter its 1000th week on Saturday 25 May. The mothers called for carnations to be left at Galatasaray Square.

Saturday Mothers/People have been gathering at Galatasaray Square since 1995 to ask the fate of their relatives who were disappeared and murdered in state custody and to demand the prosecution of the perpetrators.

Relatives of the disappeared will gather for the 1000th time on 25 May and a series of events will be held during the week.

Saturday Mothers launched an online application on their virtual media account with the title "In our 1000th week, leave a carnation at Galatasaray Square from wherever you are".

Maside Ocak, a relative of the disappeared, stated that anyone can leave a carnation at Galatasaray Square online for the 1000th week.

Maside Ocak made the following call: "We are entering our 1000th week. These 1000 weeks are not just a number for us, the relatives of the disappeared. We know that there are people all over the world who want to do something for the disappeared. We have an online carnation leaving application to support the demands of the Saturday Mothers from anywhere. Everyone can go to the website '' and leave a carnation at Galatasaray Square from wherever they are."


Since 1995, the Istanbul Saturday Mothers, like the Argentinian "Madres de la Plaza de Mayo", have held weekly sit-ins in Istanbul with pictures of their relatives to protest against their "disappearance" in state custody and to demand information about their whereabouts. Between 1999 and 2009, the Saturday Mothers had to suspend their weekly sit-ins as police regularly broke up the gatherings. On 25 August 2018, the initiative gathered for the 700th time at their ancestral place in front of the Galatasaray High School on Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue to remember their missing relatives with a peaceful vigil. However, on the orders of Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, police deployed water cannons and attacked the crowd with tear gas and rubber bullets. The violent action was justified because the Saturday Mothers were being instrumentalised by terrorist organisations, Soylu had said. Since then, Galatasaray Square has been a no-go area for the Saturday Mothers, who first moved to the building of the Human Rights Association (IHD) and, in the wake of the Corona pandemic, finally presented their demands online.

On the occasion of the 900th rally on 25 June 2022, the Saturday Mothers were again attacked by the police and detained several people, including the co-chairs of the IHD.


In Turkey, since the 1980s, about 17,000 people, mostly Kurds, politically active and committed people, journalists and legal practitioners and ordinary people have been considered "disappeared". The country became acquainted with this practice after the military coup of September 1980. In the mid-1990s, when the Turkish state's dirty war against the PKK was particularly bloody, this method reached its peak.

The bodies of the abducted were buried in mass graves, caves or in disused industrial plants, thrown onto rubbish dumps, sunk into well pits and acid pits or, as in Argentina, disposed of by being dropped from military helicopters. Often the victims were picked up at home by the police or the army, or were ordered to the local police station for a "statement", or detained at a military road check. This is often the last their relatives know of the whereabouts of those disappeared. Most of the "murders by unknown perpetrators" are the work of the religious extremist terrorist organisation Hezbullah as well as JITEM. This is the name of the informal secret service of the Turkish military police, which is responsible for at least four fifths of the unsolved murders in Northern Kurdistan and whose existence was denied by the state for years.