Saturday Mothers meet in Galatasaray for the 649th time

This week Hasan Gülünay was remembered: he disappeared while in police custody.

Saturday Mothers met at Galatasaray Square in Istanbul for the 694th time this week to demand justice and truth for the disappeared people of Turkey and Kurdistan.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Oya Ersoy joined the Mothers together with Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu.

This week’s action was to demand justice and to remember Hasan Gülünay, who died in custody on 20 July 1992.

The first to speak was Irfan Bilgin, brother of Kenan Bilgin who disappeared while in custody on 12 September 1994. Bilgin said: “No government has heard our voice, and the files of these people cannot be closed before being resolved”.

CHP deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who spoke afterwards, recalled that he had been to Sarajevo on 11 July 1995, a year after the Srebrenica Genocide. He said families there were carrying out a struggle similar to that carried out by the Saturday Mothers.

Tanrıkulu reminded that the then Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul were also at the Srebrenica massacre memorial. “Can you make the speech you made there to these mothers here?” asked Tanrıkulu.

HDP Istanbul deputy Oya Ersoy read this week's statement and told the story of Hasan Gülünay.

Gülünay lived in the same neighbourhood in Istanbul as Ali Ekber Atmaca, who was murdered under torture in Artvin Province Gendarmerie Regiment Command in May of 1992.

Hasan Gülünay’s name came out during torture which is why the father of four, aged 32, was on police records.

Oya said: “Hasan Gülünay had told his wife that he was being followed for some time by police officers. On 20 July 1992 he left his house in Tarabya to go to work and never returned. The prosecutor's office and the Istanbul Security Department said that there was no record of Hasan being in police custody.

However a senior security official related to Gülünay’s family said that he had been informed that Gülünay had been taken into custody after the injuries he suffered while under torture, had healed. This information was made public.

At that point an undisclosed witness said he had been in the interrogation at the Istanbul Security Department at the same time as Gülünay and heard his shouting: "I am Hasan Gülünay they are trying to disappear me in custody”.

After these two statements were shared with the public, the family of Gülünay and the witness began being threatened by the police.

On 21 April 2016 the Constitutional Court ruled that “the investigation related to the right to life was violated”. However the court also stated that the case of Hasan Gülünay would be closed due to time limitation.

HDP deputy Oya Ersoy said that “the family of Hasan Gülünay and the society has the right to know the truth about the disappearance of Hasan while in custody and this right is not subject to the statute of limitation. This case will not be closed for us until a trial process in accordance to domestic law and international law is held”.