Last respects paid to 'Mother Berfo'

Last respects paid to 'Mother Berfo'

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Last respects paid to Mother Berfo

After a lifetime pursuing the fate of her son, who disappeared during the 1980 coup era, 105-year-old Berfo Kırbayır, widely known as Berfo Ana (Mother Berfo), was sent off to her hometown for burial during a ceremony in Istanbul. DHA Photo

Crowds gathered to bid farewell to Berfo Ana (Mother Berfo), a 105-year-old woman who became a public figure in her search for justice for her lost son Cemil Kırbayır, in Istanbul on Feb. 22.

The Saturday Mothers, who have been holding sit-in protests every Saturday in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square to learn the fate of loved ones who disappeared after the 1980 coup, held a ceremony for their oldest member, who passed away Feb. 21.

“Do not bury me before you find my son’s remains,” the elderly woman had told her other son, Mikail Kırbayır, before dying.

The man said he did not what to do in the wake of his mother’s passing.

Cemil Kırbayır, the woman’s other son and 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, but his remains have never been found.

Berfo Kırbayır frequently said her only desire was to find the remains of her lost son. She also took part in the 1980 coup case in which the surviving coup leaders, Kenan Evren and Tahsin Şahinkaya, are being tried.

The woman’s daughter, Fatma Gülmez, called on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to execute her mother’s last and only will. “My mother died in disappointment; give my brother’s bones to us and let us bury my mom with him,” she said in tears.

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chairpersons Selahattin Demirtaş and Gültan Kışanak, former Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) head Ufuk Uras, Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunç and former BDP deputy Akın Birdal also attended the funeral.

Demirtaş said Berfo Ana was the symbol of a mother who had suffered from three decades of clashes.

After the memorial service, a funeral prayer was held for Kırbayır at Istanbul’s Şakirin Mosque. She will be buried in the village of Okçu, located in the eastern province of Ardahan’s Göle district