Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Sunday said that only a dictatorial administration would order a police attack on the Saturday Mothers, who had gathered in Galatasaray Square for the 700th time in search of their missing loved ones who had disappeared while in police custody in the 1990s.
Turkish police used excessive force to prevent the Saturday Mothers from protesting in the square as they had been doing every Saturday for half an hour for the last 23 years, with a hiatus between 1999 to 2009 due to police violence.
The Saturday Mothers protest unanswered questions about the disappearance or unsolved murder of their loved ones after being taken into custody by security forces, and the lack of justice in court.
“When I heard the news, I was deeply disappointed. What are the demands of these mothers? For 700 weeks, they have just wanted to learn where the graves of their children are,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters at the funeral of his former press consultant Baki Özilhan.
Kılıçdaroğlu recalled that years ago the Saturday Mothers spoke with then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who promised to find the graves of their missing relatives.
“None of those promises were kept. We have to understand these mothers. Pressuring these mothers, using violence against them… Human beings are supposed to have a conscience and morality. They have none. I am truly sorry for the mothers,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Emphasizing that such things can only occur under dictatorships, Kılıçdaroğlu said these shameful events harm Turkey’s image on the world stage.
“It is the state’s duty to find those who murdered the children of these mothers. Not only have you not found them, you also put pressure on the mothers and try to suppress them through violence. For 700 weeks, these mothers did not hurt anybody even though they were justified in their demands. They just want justice. They just want to know who murdered their children,” Kılıçdaroğlu underlined.