Victims of Ankara massacre commemorated across Turkey
Commemoration events were held in many cities on the anniversary of the 10 October massacre which claimed the lives of 104 people attending a peace rally in the Turkish capital Ankara in 2015.
On 10 October 2015, 104 people lost their lives and over 500 people were injured by an ISIS bomb attack that targeted a peace rally promoted by the Labour and Democracy Forces in the Turkish capital Ankara.
Commemoration events were held across Turkey today in memory of the victims on the 6th anniversary of the massacre.
The area in front of Ankara Train Station, the scene of the deadly attack, which was set to be the main location for the commemoration, was blockaded by hundreds of police in the early morning hours.
While the police forces, with a list in their hands, announced that they would not allow anyone except for the families of victims, a group of 30 people opposed the restriction and attempted to enter the area. The activists were brutally attacked and dragged on the ground. 22 people were taken into custody and the journalists covering the event were subject to police violence.
The commemoration at Ankara Train Station was participated by 10 October Peace Association, co-chair of the Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions (KESK) Mehmet Bozgeyik, chair of the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions (DISK) Arzu Çerkezoğlu, member of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Central Council Vedat Bulut, chair of Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) Emin Koramaz and deputies of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Republican People’s Party (CHP), as well as families of those who lost their lives in the massacre.
The commemoration began at 10.04, at the time of the massacre, and the activists chanted slogans such as “Do not forget 10 October, do not forgive 10 October”, “Murderous state will be brought to account”, “Assassin ISIS, Collaborator AKP” and “Long live fraternity of peoples”.
Speaking here, Mehtap Sakinci Coşgun, head of 10 October Peace Association, said, “We commemorate with respect and longing all of our friends who lost their lives in the biggest mass killing in the history of Turkey. Our longing for them grows day by day.”
“The Ankara massacre, which was perpetrated in a dark period of 2015, between two elections, is a political murder,” Coşgun added.
Speaking after, Arzu Çerkezoğlu, chair of the DISK, said, “We will fight shoulder to shoulder until we crown their interrupted struggle with success and achieve peace and fraternity.”
Mehmet Bozgeyik, co-chair of the KESK, said, “10 October massacre is a crime against humanity. We will not give up our struggle until those who did not prevent this massacre are brought to account before the court. We will never forget the 10 October Massacre.”
TMMOB President Emin Koramaz expressed his reaction to the violent crackdown of the police, saying, “No matter what they do, we will fill this area with tens of thousands of people. We will not fear. We will not be intimidated. We will stand here in front of the train station every year.”
Following the speeches, families laid carnations at the scene and flew black balloons in memory of the victims.
On the other hand, a group of people were set to hold a commemoration at Sakarya Square and Konur Street in the central Çankaya district. The police attacked the young people and took over 30 people into custody.
Izmir Labour and Democracy Forces gathered in front of Alsancak Train Station in Konak district and opened the 10 October Monument.
A large number of people including HDP MP Serpil Kemalbay, CHP MP Kani Beko and Izmir Mayor Tunç Soyer attended the commemoration in Izmir.
Memiş Sarı, the DISK Representative of the Aegean Region, demanded public officials and politicians involved in the massacre to be prosecuted. He said, “In the light of obtained evidence from criminal prosecution, we all know that this massacre could have been prevented.”
Hatice Çevik, a member of the Association of Families of 10 October Victims and HDP co-mayor of Suruç Municipality, who was stripped of her mayor status, said, “Our determination to struggle is the only thing that enables us to hold on to life”.
Evrim Mak, who lost her husband Mesut Mak in the massacre, said, “Through this massacre, they aimed to spread fear to the whole country. Still, we can see that they will never succeed. They smashed our hopes, yet we are here at this square today, to promote hope and peace again thanks to this monument.”
HDP Şırnak Provincial Organisation made a statement in front of the party office. The crowd commemorated the massacre victims and demanded that all of those involved in the massacre be brought to justice.
The action was attended by activists of the Free Women’s Movement (TJA), members of Peace Mothers Assembly, HDP Şırnak Deputy Hasan Özgüneş and many HDP members. The activists displayed a banner reading “Train Station massacre is a wound bleeding for 6 years.”
Zeynep Salğucak, co-chair of the HDP Şırnak Central District Organisation, said, “All those who planned this massacre, those who took no measures although they had been informed of the attack, and those who interrupted the judicial process to reveal the instigators behind the assassins, are obvious. The perpetrators were identified but those who committed negligence and did not turn a hair while they could have indeed prevented the massacre, are still on duty today.”
At a joint press conference held in front of the Peace Monument of Seyhan Municipality, Ahmet Aydoğan, spokesperson of the KESK Adana Branches Platform, read the statement and said, “Those who hide the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity are accomplices. We will never forget those who have led society into a circle of chaos and violence to remain in power.”
Nesligül Sarıkaya, mother of Dilan Sarıkaya who lost her life in the massacre, said, “Peace despite everything! Because we paid a high price for peace.”
Şebnem Korur Fincancı, head of TTB Central Council, said, “Those inflicting this pain on us are the true perpetrators of this massacre. We will keep the struggle going in order to reveal those perpetrators, to have everyone on these lands feel the pain we experience, and to preserve the memories of our friends whom we lost for the sake of peace, democracy and freedom.”
Speaking after, Ercüment Akdeniz, president of the Labour Party (EMEP), called for the political instigators of the massacre to be brought to account.
HDP Adana Deputy Kemal Peköz stressed that the massacre was perpetrated under the watchful eye of the state. He added that those not allowing light to be shed on the massacre sustain their power through war and bloodshed.
Antalya Labour and Democracy Forces held a commemoration in front of Attalos statue. A large number of people, including the families of some of the victims, attended the commemoration. The crowd laid carnations on the ground in memory of the victims.