Nacho Sanchez Amor, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, will travel to Turkey on Saturday to monitor the 975th vigil of the Saturday Mothers in central İstanbul shortly after the vigil was allowed by authorities to resume after a five-year interruption, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) announced.
The Saturday Mothers, a group of relatives of victims of enforced disappearances in Turkey, held a vigil in İstanbul’s Galatasaray Square without the intervention of police on Nov. 11 for the first time since 2018.
The resumption of the vigil came after Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said the government had “good intentions” and that a peaceful solution would be found, responding to questions by opposition lawmakers during a parliamentary session.
Amor has been a vocal supporter of the Saturday Mothers, their right to freedom of association and their struggle for justice for their loved ones.
He received representatives from the group as well as some Turkish human rights organizations at the European Parliament in October.
Very happy to meet at @Europarl_EN with representatives of @CmrtesiAnneleri, @ihd_genelmerkez & @insanhaklari on latest developments affecting the #SaturdayMothers, who continue to face police & judicial harassment during their peaceful vigils despite @aymconstcourt rulings! pic.twitter.com/OBW3FXC3w6
— Nacho Sánchez Amor (@NachoSAmor) October 24, 2023
He welcomed the resumption of the vigil on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Nov.11, calling it a good day for Turkey.
Good news today from #Türkiye. For the 1st time in 5 years @CmrtesiAnneleri were allowed to have their vigil at Galatasaray Sq without any police intervention or detentions. Carnations in remembrance of the dissapeared are back & @AYMBASKANLIGI rulings respected. It's a good day pic.twitter.com/dFrdZ85bAW
— Nacho Sánchez Amor (@NachoSAmor) November 11, 2023
Turkish police had in 2018 told the Saturday Mothers that their protest – seeking justice for relatives who in the 1980s and ’90s were kidnapped or detained without record – was banned and dispersed participants with water cannon and tear gas.
Members of the group stood trial in 2021 on charges of refusing to disperse despite police warnings, and for the past five years police have been dispersing and detaining members of the group every Saturday when they attempt to stage their protest.
The Constitutional Court ruled on Nov. 16, 2022 that the police intervention in the 700th-week vigil was a violation of the right to freedom of assembly, followed by a similar decision in February of this year.
Amor, member of the European Parliament from Spain, has been serving as the permanent rapporteur on Turkey for the European Parliament since September 2019.