Saturday Mothers meet for 500th time in hope of finding lost loved ones
The mothers of people who have disappeared at the hands of the state in recent decades, known as the “Saturday Mothers,” will meet for the 500th time today since their first gathering in the mid-1990s. The landmark meeting comes amid calls for solidarity from the Scholars for Peace initiative.
The initiative, group together over 150 scholars from 50 universities, published a statement in solidarity with the Saturday Mothers and called for attendance at the rally.
The statement said the mothers would meet for the 500th time today, noting that the individuals responsible for the disappearances had yet to be investigated despite the passage of decades.
“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,’” read the statement.
“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,” it added.
The Saturday Mothers, who since the mid-1990s have gathered every Saturday in front of Galatasaray High School on Istanbul’s central İstiklal Avenue, carry posters of missing family members who have disappeared after being detained by security forces, or who have died in unsolved murders, especially in the dark days of the 1990s.
Every week, two or three relatives read a message or a poem for their loved ones, while anybody who wishes can take part in the demonstrations by holding a picture of one of the missing people.
The Scholars for Peace said they would continue to follow the cause of the Saturday Mothers and tell their stories in classes to their students.
The scholars also called on other colleagues “to stand on the side of those who have suffered the wrath of the state, starting with the Saturday Mothers.”
The mothers received the fifth International Hrant Dink Award on Sept. 15, 2013, which is named in honor of assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.