Saturday Mothers/People Granted Sevinç Özgüner Human Rights Award

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  • May 24, 2019
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The Human Rights, Peace and Democracy Award and Commemoration Ceremony organized by the İstanbul Chamber of Medicine (İTO) in memory of dentist Sevinç Özgüner was held last evening (May 23). This year’s award has been granted to Saturday Mothers/People.

The award ceremony held in the İTO building in Cağaloğlu, İstanbul was attended by physicians and Saturday Mothers/People.

In her opening speech, İTO Human Rights Commission Director and Co-Spokesperson Ayşe Saral said, “The Galatasaray Square, which is an historical place, has once again attained historicity with Saturday Mothers. The reconstruction of memory is one of the most fundamental elements for coming to terms with the past and establishing justice.”

‘Conscience will win, we will win’

As reported by Mezopotamya Agency (MA), Jiyan Tosun, whose father Fehmi Tosun was disappeared in custody, made a speech at the ceremony on behalf of Saturday Mothers/People.

Stating that the award means a lot to them, Tosun continued as follows:

“Sevin Özgüner was also an envoy of hope and peace just like the ones disappeared in custody. No one can turn down our voices demanding peace since Antigone. Not losing our hopes is the only thing that we need. Conscience will win, we will win.”

Dr. Gençay Gürsoy presented the award to Saturday Mothers/People on behalf of İTO. Gürsoy stated that he was honored to grant the award to them.

About Dr. Sevinç Özgüner

Sevinç Özgüner was born in Tarsus, Mersin in 1927. In the year 1946, she passed the Medical School entrance exam of the Ministry of National Education. She took active part in handling problems of the country from the first years of her university education.

Having participated in the campaigns against paid education and deployment of soldiers to Korea and for freedom of poet Nazım Hikmet Ran, Sevinç Özgüner was arrested in the period after 1948. In 1951, she was arrested again only to be released two years later.

In 1957, she started studying in Faculty of Dentistry of İstanbul University. In the post-1960 coup period, she first worked at the Labor Party of Turkey (TİP), then for the Türk Solu (Turkish Left) and Demokratik Devrim (Democratic Revolution) magazines.

In the early 1980s, she was a member of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Central Council. On May 23, 1980, she and her husband Vecdi Özgüner were subjected to an armed attack. While her husband survived the attack seriously wounded, Sevinç Özgüner lost her life. Her murder remained “unidentified”.

The İstanbul Chamber of Medicine (İTO) has been granting “Human Rights, Peace and Democracy Award” in her memory.