[This week, the Saturday Mothers will be commemorating their five hundredth sit-in protest in Taksim Square, Istanbul. This statement of solidarity was released by the Scholars for Peace Initiative on 25 October 2014. The Scholars for Peace initiative focuses on creating peace among the people, and is comprised of over 150 scholars from over fifty universities who see the Kurdish issue as a Turkey issue. More information can be found here.]
On 25 October 2014, the Saturday Mothers will remind us for the five hundredth time of the daughters and sons they have lost due to the forced disappearances on the part of the state, mostly in the Kurdish region. They will, for the five hundredth time, hold accountable the state that has worked so hard to remove from our collective memory the struggle and existence of their children.
During all this time, while the Saturday Mothers have been working in solidarity with those seeking lost loved ones in Chile, Argentina, and Sri Lanka, neither past administrations nor the current one have investigated or punished the individuals responsible for the loss of hundreds of people. As if this weren’t enough, some of those responsible have even made advancements and received promotions in their “careers.”
Even though the public knows who is responsible, and even though some of the perpetrators have confessed, these crimes against humanity continue to go unpunished. The defendant in an ongoing case in Ankara, again where a crime has been confessed, is not even required to attend the hearings of his own trial.
We, as Scholars for Peace, are aware of all of this, are following and will continue to follow the cause of the Saturday Mothers. In our classes and beyond, in every situation we find ourselves, will continue to give voice to their cause. We will continue to keep alive the memory of the disappeared with our words, and tell their stories to our students.
We call on all our colleagues at all universities to stand on the side of those who have suffered the wrath of the state, starting with the Saturday Mothers. Because our cause is the same as the Saturday Mothers, and anyone in Turkey who is looking for their rights and fighting for a better world: for people to live a life of dignity, with democracy, freedom of expression, respect, and most importantly, for a country where those with the blood of innocent people on their hands are not protected with a shield of impunity. We do so with everyone, together.
Scholars for Peace