Turn Diyarbakır prison into museum: Petition
The Diyarbakır Prison is symbolized with the claims of torture cases against Kurdish inmates in 1980s. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZThe ‘78ers Foundation presented a 100,000-signature petition to Parliament’s Petition Commission asking for the notorious Diyarbakır Prison to be turned into a museum of human rights.
“Like every society, our society and nation also has eras that should be faced,” Celalettin Can, the president of the foundation, said yesterday as he delivered the petition to Parliament.
Can said that in the Diyarbakır Prison, there had been cases of acute brutality in which the imprisoned Kurdish people were put through inhuman practices.
A strain on the society’s conscience, Daniş says
Upon receiving the petition, Mehmet Daniş, the head of the Petition Commission, said the events at Diyarbakır Prison in the 1980s had put a strain on the conscience of society and these remain intact in the collective memory.
Sakine Arat, whose son Cemal Arat died in a hunger strike in 1984 at Diyarbakır Prison, said mothers who lost their children there want it to be transformed into a museum.
In the infamous Diyarbakır Prison, torture and ill-treatment were exercised by officials, particularly in the aftermath of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup d’état. As the scene of brutal methods of torture against prisoners, Diyarbakır Prison is assumed to be a crucial factor in the escalation of the conflict over the Kurdish issue. Many cases in which prisoners chose to join the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after being released, mainly due to the treatment received in prison, have come to light.
The militants took up arms in 1984 to fight for Kurdish independence but later revised that goal to autonomy in southeastern Turkey.