Friday, December 4, 2009

No Hope for Survivors, only for Finding Their Graves

Submitted by Tsiatsan on Friday, December 04 2009
güncel BIANET- In the 1990s thousands of people in Turkey have disappeared or were murdered. Many cases have still not been solved, and perpetrators have not been brought to justice. With the "Project on Unsolved Disappearances" human rights defenders claim to give the relatives at least a place to moarn.

Hüseyin Avraz, relative of a disappeared person and supporter of the "Project on Unsolved Disappearances" of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (TIHV) explained, "We do not expect any more to find our disappeared relatives alive. But we want to have a grave".

President of the Association for Solidarity and Support of Relatives of Disappeared People YAKAY-DER) Cemal Bektas made the following announcement in yesterday's press conference: "From the early 1990s until the end of that decade we saw many people disappearing or being murdered. We founded our association in 2001 and received many applications. We have filed criminal complaints and until the present day we have opened almost 1500 court cases. However, the court decided for lack of jurisdiction or authority for every single one of them".

"These decisions have been made without doing any research. We suffered from psychological damage", Bektas continued, adding that the association received may applications for opening mass graves. The YAKAY-DER president emphasized that they demanded the excavations to be carried out by specialists.
"The families want to have a grave for their lost ones. There is still no news from ten thousands of people. With every day passing the pain gets even greater", Bekats said.

The project is also supported by the Human Rights Foundation (IHD). Istanbul branch president lawyer Gülseren Yoleri said, "We are ashamed that the demands of the relatives have been diminished to asking for a grave".

"With the excavations the long-term struggle of the relatives of the disappeared people has come to an important point". Yoleri criticized, "The excavations are not done properly, the correct methods are not being applied, the violation continues".

Foundation for Research on Society and Law (TOHAV) lawyer Yasar Aydin stated, "It is very clear that the state did not take its responsibility for finding the disappeared people. The project will also have an impact on the democratic initiative", Aydin added.

TIHV president Sebnem Korur Fincanci underlined, "We have to work hard for this project and we need independent laboratories. The Forensic Medicine Institute is connected to the Ministry of Justice and it is not unbiased. I cannot take neutral decisions on crimes allegedly committed by the state", Fincanci explained.

The lawyer added that the "Project on Unsolved Disappearances" was also a responsibility in terms of humanity. (BÇ/VK)