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"We were demanding our loved ones who were taken away from us. We knew that their bodies would not come to us alive. We struggled, people took to the streets. The government had to take a step back."
Attending the Truth and Justice Conference on behalf of Plaza de Mayo Mothers, Isabel Noia explained their struggle in above words.
In the "Truth and Justice" conference jointly organized by the Human Rights Association (İHD) İstanbul Branch and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) in İstanbul, "the struggle of enforced disappearances from Plaza de Mayo to Galatasaray" was discussed.
The relatives of the disappeared in custofy from both Turkey and Argentina talked about their struggles at the conference. The conference was held in the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) Office in Kadıköy, İstanbul yesterday (May 12).
In the first session, the relatives of the disappeared Remziye Bayram from Diyarbakır, Ceylan Deniz from Şırnak, Hanife Yıldız from İstanbul and Margarita Isabel Noia from Plaza de Mayo made a speech.
Regarding their struggle in Argentina, Noia stated the following:
"We waged our struggle so that the ones bearing the primary responsibility could be put on trial; however, we encountered the problem of immunity.We advocated that there could be no statute of limitations in enforced disappearances. As a result of our struggle, we managed to file 800 lawsuits.
"When I look at you here, I see my mother who lost her life at the age of 94. My mother was one of the 14 people who staged the first protest and she died without finding her child.
"I believe that you will also find justice by struggling!"
Attending the conference from Diyarbakır, Remziye Bayram said, "We wish that our children could celebrate our Mother's Day. I am making a promise to my both children: I will continue this struggle."
Hanife Yıldız also stated the following:
"We are outraged, sorrowed and complainants of the ones who run this country like that. I will always by the fellow, mother and sister of everyone who suffers injustice to my last breath no matter where they are. I will continue demanding justice till my last breath!"
In the second session of the conference, Prof. Dr. Osman Doğru talked about disappearances in custody, international agreements and cases at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Afterwards, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) İstanbul MP and legist Sezgin Tanrıkulu took the floor and made a speech on enforced disappearance and impunity.
İHD İstanbul Branch Chair Gülseren Yoleri, the last speaker of the session, emphasized that they are insistent on the Galatasaray Squarel:
"The legal actions regarding the violence faced by Saturday Mothers since their 700th week are still continuing. We are determined and insistent."
In the third session of the conference, forensic medicine expert Prof. Dr. Ümit Biçer, Prof. Dr. Cem Kaptanoğlu and TİHV Chair Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı also addressed the enforced disappearances in their speeches.
While Prof. Dr. Biçer emphasized the importance of creating sites of memory by stating that "remembering is the responsibility of all of us", Prof. Dr. Kaptanoğlu said, "Our sites of memory are under occupation" and added: "It is the most basic right of the ones whose loved ones disappeared in custody to look for the disappeared. It is also a search for truth."
Addressing the enforced disappearances in the context of human rights, Prof. Dr. Korur-Fincancı also said,
"Human rights struggle is also a struggle of the streets. It needs to be noted that the struggle waged with the power of motherhood against the state, force and power sheds light on human rights struggle." (AS/SD)
* Photographs: TİHV, Saturday Mothers/People, Fatoş Erdoğan