A Turkish court has begun the trial for the murder of three members of the Kurdish Şenyaşar family, who were allegedly killed by people connected to a lawmaker from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2018, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Tuesday.
Esvet Şenyaşar and his two sons, Adil and Celal, were brutally murdered on June 14, 2018 in Şanlıurfa province.
They were initially shot in their store and taken to a hospital. However, they were followed by the family of AKP deputy İbrahim Halil Yıldız to the hospital, where they were ultimately murdered. Eight more people were injured during fights between the two groups. An older brother of Yıldız was also killed.
Two brothers of the Şenyaşar family, Ferit and Fadıl, who were injured but survived, were later detained, and Fadıl Şenyaşar was arrested. However, none of Yıldız’s relatives or his bodyguards were detained despite the fact that three people had died.
Only 15 months later, on Sept. 18, 2020, was Yıldız’s older brother Enver Yıldız arrested.
The first hearing of the trial, which began more than four years after the murders, was held on Tuesday at the Malatya 5th High Criminal Court in which 19 suspects face various prison sentences for allegedly killing Esvet and Adil Şenyaşar and injuring Ferit and Mehmet Şenyaşar.
According to Mezopotamya, the hearing was closed to the press, and some people from the family of the AKP MP threatened a reporter from the Evrensel daily, which is critical of the AKP government.
Speaking to Mezopotamya in front of the courthouse before the hearing, Emine Şenyaşar, who has been seeking justice for the three slain members of her family, said, “Arrest the people who slaughtered my sons. Why aren’t they under arrest?”
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairwoman Gülizar Biçer Karaca on Tuesday expressed support for the Şenyaşar family’s fight for justice and said she and other representatives from the party were following the hearing.
Meanwhile, Ahmet Eşref Fakıbaba, a former lawmaker from the ruling AKP who resigned in October and later joined the opposition İYİ (Good) Party, on Monday said during a program on Halk TV that one of the main reasons for his resignation was the Şenyaşar family murders.
“We believe and trust in justice. The judicial process will work and … those who are guilty of this crime will be determined,” Fakıbaba said.
Emine Şenyaşar and her son Ferit Şenyaşar began a sit-in in March 2021 in front of the courthouse in Şanlıurfa province. In August 2022, they were prevented from entering the courthouse yard by Şanlıurfa Governor Salih Aydın.
The mother protested the ban by saying, “The murderers of my husband and sons are free. But instead of detaining the perpetrators, the police are busy preventing us from demonstrating.”
The Yıldız family previously claimed the Şenyaşars had links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and that they had been the victims of terrorism.