Defenders of peace against war, life against death

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  • 13:05 19 January 2021
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DİYARBAKIR - Peace Mothers who continue their struggle so that their children don't go through what they have been through said: "No more arrests, detentions, deaths. Enough is enough. We just want peace."

The public has first heard of the Peace Mothers when they started protesting the fact that their children were being tortured in Diyarbakır Prison on September 12, 1982. Later we heard of them again when they demanded the bones of their children when the conflict  intensified regarding the Kurdish question. They were beaten, detained and arrested a lot in that period. Some were locked up and some died before before they could get the bones of their children, not being able to bear the burden of life anymore.
The scream first heard in front the Diyarbakır Prison turned into flesh and blood with the Peace Mothers Initiative. That voice still echoing today was finally heard during the solution process and the pain and suffering of the soldier's mothers were shared by the Peace Mothers. However, with the termination of the process, the mothers of the soldiers backed away and dissappeared into silence while the screams of the Peace Mothers are still deafening. Now the Peace Mothers carry more weight after their children were killed in Cizre, Nusaybin, Sur, North and East Syria and Federated Kurdistan Disctrict.
They were last seen in front of the prisons in 2018, during the hunger strike of the prisoners demanding an end to the isolation on PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan. Now their children are once again on hunger strike with the same demand.
60 year old Nazmiye Yürek who witnessed the villages burned down by soldiers, the police raids and exiles, is one of the mothers who has been waiting for their children in prison for years. One of her sons, Kenan is in prison for 22 years now while her other son Ertan is in prison for 9 years. Yürek who had to migrate to the city center of Diyarbakır after their village was burned down by the soldiers, said: "We faced the cruelty of the state. They burned down all of the houses. We had to migrate to the city center. We couldn't go back to our village. I don't know how many of us faced this cruelty. It is more than I can count."
Following their sons from city to city while they were exiled to different prisons Yürek had to stop visiting her sons due to her illnesses and the pandemic. Yürek whose longing reflects to her face said: "My son was out here for 7 years but then he was arrested again. They took my daughter too when they came to take him. The oppression and violence never changes. They sentenced my son to 37 years in prison. He was in Amed first, then Siirt and Kırıkkale. Then he was exiled to some other prisons. He is now in Kandıra Prison. He had a heart attack there. He is in prison for 22 years now. He has a lot of health issues after all this time. He is not released despite the international aggreements."
Telling that her other son was arrested years later, Yürek said: "He was transferred to other prisons many times as well. My youngest son was also arrested and held in prison for 6  years. They broke down our door 7 times. I have seen 6 people being locked up. Without any tangible reason. What does the President want from the Kurdish people? We will fight back as long as we live. We want our country to get rid of this persecution."
 MA / Eylem Akdağ 

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