Turkish mother seeking justice at age 105
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Berfo Kırbayır carries a photograph of her son in front of Ankara Courthouse.A 105-year-old woman arrived at the Ankara Courthouse yesterday, demanding justice for her son, who had disappeared while in custody during the 1980 coup era, while the suspects failed to appear in court for health reasons.
Berfo Kırbayır’s son Cemil Kırbayır, a member of the outlawed leftist Revolutionary Youth, or Dev-Genç, organization, is thought to have been killed in custody in the eastern province of Kars in 1980. She was one of the hundreds of people who gathered in front of the Ankara Courthouse yesterday, where a historic trial regarding the 1980 military coup era began.
Although suspects Kenan Evren, former president of Turkey and leader of the military junta that performed the coup, and Tahsin Şahinkaya, air forces commander at the time, cited health reasons and did not appear before the court, Berfo Kırbayır, “Mother Berfo” to many, was there to hold the suspects accountable for her son’s alleged death.
She was carrying a photo of her son but had to spend most of the time in an ambulance due to her poor health, bianet reported on its website.
The case of Cemil Kırbayır came to the agenda when his mother met Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in February, 2011 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 to investigate the case.
Intelligence and police officers pointed fingers at each other before a parliamentary investigation seeking to uncover allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings following Turkey’s 1980 coup. No solid information was obtained regarding Kırbayır’s fate.