Victims commemorated on anniversary of Suruç massacre

Young people murdered in Suruç massacre were commemorated on the anniversary of their martyrdom.

20 July marks the sixth anniversary of the attack in which 33 activists were killed and over a hundred were injured, some seriously, as result of an attack by ISIS in Suruç district, in Urfa province in 2015. The activists had come to the border town with Rojava to support the population of the western Kurdish city of Kobanê, which was being attacked by ISIS.

300 young people had gathered in front of the Amara cultural center to hold a press conference before leaving for Kobanê. With that trip to Northern Syria, they wanted to show their solidarity and bring children's toys and humanitarian aid to the city that was being destroyed by ISIS. There are clear indications that the ISIS attackers received support from the Turkish secret service. The massacre has not yet been fully investigated. Therefore, activists continue to call for “Justice for Suruç”.

Memorial events have been held in various cities today to pay tribute to the memory of the victims on the anniversary of their martyrdom.


Before the commemoration at the Gazi Cemetery in the Sultangazi district of Istanbul, people gathered at the Gazi Cemevi (Alevi place of worship) and walked to the cemetery chanting slogans. The commemoration, attended by a large number of people including Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Dersim Dağ, started with a moment of silence.

Hivda Selen, SGDF (Federation of Socialist Youth Associations) Central Executive Committee (MYK) member, made a speech at the cemetery. Selen stated that the sole purpose of those who lost their lives in the massacre was to show solidarity with the people of Kobanê and to bring toys to the children there. “We said that we had defended Kobanê together and we would build it together. Many fell martyrs there and we have followed in the footsteps of those martyrs. Suruç's killers are Deniz Poyraz's killers. Those who carried out the massacre in Sivas in the past are responsible for the Ankara Station Massacre. We have been carrying a justice struggle for 6 years in streets.”

Dilek Şeker, daughter of İsmet Şeker, who lost his life in the massacre, said that “I do not forget what happened 6 years ago. We seek justice tirelessly to no avail.”

“Turkey's history is full of massacres and unsolved murders. The killers and those responsible are obvious,” ESP Istanbul Provincial Chair Ezgi Bahçeci said.

“Our promise to all the martyrs of Kurdistan, Suruç and Rojava will be to protect Rojava. We will keep the memory of the martyrs of Suruç alive by protecting the Rojava Revolution,” HDP Deputy Dersim Dağ said.


Veysel Özdemir, who lost his life in the massacre, was commemorated at his grave in Yeniköy Cemetery in Amed’s (Diyarbakır) Bağlar district. Several civil society organizations and HDP officials attended the commemoration.

A cake was cut for Özdemir’s birthday at his grave. Özdemir's older sister Rabiya Özdemir recited the poem "33 dream travelers" she wrote for her brother.

“They were the ones who defended the revolution for a borderless and classless world in the face of the corruption, plunder and denial of the peoples. Those who murdered HDP member Deniz Poyraz, those who killed journalist Hrant Dink in the middle of a street, those who murdered many of our comrades and Berkin Elvan at the age of 15 during the Gezi protests, and those who murdered 103 of our comrades in a bomb attack in Ankara are the same. We know the murderers, and their instigators are obvious. The state carried out the massacres together with ISIS,” SGDF member Helin Yağmur Uci said.

“We do not expect justice from the palaces and courts of those who murdered us. We expect justice from the oppressed,” she added.

“The dreams of 33 dream travelers came true in Rojava. Yesterday was the anniversary of the Rojava Revolution and the peoples have built a new life together. It is our duty to keep these dreams alive,” HDP Amed Deputy Semra Güzel said.

Özdemir's mother Rabiya Özdemir stressed that they will continue their search for justice. After the commemoration, carnations were placed on Özdemir's grave.


Uğur Özkan, who lost his life in the massacre, was commemorated at his grave in Asri Cemetery in Cizre district of Şırnak. Several civil society organizations and HDP officials attended the commemoration. Before the commemoration, Hatice Özkan, with a picture of her brother, was not allowed to enter the cemetery.

“These young people wanted to relieve Rojava kids’ pain by bringing gifts to them. They were massacred by ISIS. No progress has been made in the case which was opened 6 years ago. The perpetrators of this massacre are protected and hidden. Everyone knows who prepared this massacre,” HDP Şırnak Deputy Nuran İmir said.

After the speeches, carnations were placed on Özkan's grave.


In a written statement the Adana Democracy Forces said that “We, as human rights defenders, democratic mass organizations and political parties, once again condemn the murder of 33 revolutionary young people in Suruç, and we urge the government to reveal the real perpetrators”.