Yesterday in Taksim Square in Istanbul there was a dramatic, shrouded demonstration held by the Youth Platform for Friendship of People against military operations.
The demonstrators cloaked themselves and laid down in the square. On their chests were names of people killed in the decades of violence across the country.
Slogans like, ‘We do not want to die and be killed’, ‘No war but honourable peace’, were chanted and a banner, ‘3,830 villages have been burned, 1,251 people have gone missing while in custody, 345 children and 40,000 people have been killed in 30 years,’ rustled in the air.
Ozan Emre Özyılmaz, head of the organisation, read a press release atop a platform, arguing that new steps needed to be taken as soon as possible to prevent more deaths and suffering.
Some of the names of children killed due to the violence, whose names appeared on the placards of the demonstrators include: Uğur Kaymaz, who was shot by Turkish police in 2004. Uğur and his father were shot outside their home in Kızıltepe. Uğur was riddled with 13 bullets. Police were acquitted of the crime of excessive force a few years later. In 2009, in the village of Şenlik in Diyarbakır province, Ceylan Önkol, died as a result of an explosion that many believe was caused by a mortar round fired from a nearby military base, hitting her as she tended sheep. Şeyma Özkan was killed by a piece of shrapnel from a bomb blast in the small, working-class district of Güngören in Istanbul two years ago. All three children were just twelve years old at the time of their death.