105-year-old mother who became symbol of coup disappearances dies
ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
A 105-year-old woman who became a public figure after demanding justice at court for her son who had disappeared while in custody during the 1980 coup era has passed away after a lifetime pursuing her son’s fate.
Berfo Kırbayır’s son, Cemil Kırbayır, a member of the outlawed leftist “Revolutionary Youth” (Dev-Genç) organization, is thought to have been killed in custody in the eastern province of Kars in 1980. His mother had been searching for her son ever since, often appearing in the public eye as a symbol of similar cases.
She had been suffering from stomach cancer before passing away this morning.
The case of Cemil Kırbayır came onto the agenda with renewed urgency when his mother met Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in February 2011, along with the mothers of other missing people. Erdoğan had promised to look into the case and said a special team would be formed by the parliamentary commission investigating the case.
Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek extended his condolences today to the family of the 105-year-old woman.
Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek extended his condolences today to the family of the 105-year-old woman. Çiçek telephoned her son Mikail Kırbayır to extend condolences to the family, Anatolia news agency reported.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who also expressed his condolences, said both the coup leaders and the subsequent governments were responsible for trying to find Cemil Kırbayır. “Those who had sworn to find her son did not keep their promises. They only made facile efforts, tricking the public,” he said during a party meeting in Ankara.
Co-chairs of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Gültan Kışanak and Selahattin Demirtaş also said in a press release that Kırbayır fought for her son and other missing people.
“During her more than century-long life, Berfo Ana witnessed all kinds of oppression, cruelty, inequality and injustice and felt an example of the hardest cruelty herself,” he said, noting that she will be remembered as a symbol.