Türkan Elçi: after he left, first we lost our speech, then our sight

The eternal chair of Diyarbakir Bar Association, human rights defender and lawyer Tahir Elçi was commemorated in Istanbul on the first anniversary of his murder.

The event in memory of Tahir Elçi was held last night with the cooperation of Diyarbakir Bar Association and Hrant Dink Foundation. Another dove of peace Hrant Dink was also commemorated. 

Diyarbakir Bar Association Chair Ahmet Özmen, former chair and CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Orhan Kemal Cengiz, Ümit Biçer and Tahir Elçi's wife Türkan Elçi gave speeches at the event. Journalist Burcu Karakaş interviewed Mahsuni Karaman, who is the lawyer of Tahir Elçi case, about the progress in the investigation.

Özmen: Peace envoys will never be forgotten

Ahmet Özmen was the first one to speak. Özmen said that demanding peace costed Tahir Elçi his life and that it was also what happened to Hrant Dink. “Tyrants will be dumped by the history, but the peace envoys will never be forgotten.” Özmen said that they won't let the murder of Tahir Elçi, who devoted his life to reveal the unsolved murders, remain unsolved

Tanrıkulu: We weren't beaten this much a year ago

Former chair of Diyarbakir Bar Association and CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu said: “A year ago, we had been missing a lot of things, but we weren't beaten this much. However, I believe that these days will pass. We have an obligation to carry on the struggle for rights; we owe it to our friends like Tahir Elçi, who are taken away from us.”

Cengiz: Elçi and Dink had been targeted because they spoke the language of peace

Lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz said that he met Tahir Elçi in 1997 and Elçi became a friend whom he called whenever he ran into a trouble. He also said that the darkness over Turkey cannot stand the ones who speak up for peace: “The treacherous spirit of this country killed Tahir and Hrant, and lynched Ahmet Kaya. After the languages and cultures of the ancient peoples of this land had been denied, a darkness loomed over this country. This darkness doesn't like the ones who speak the language of peace and companionship. Elçi and Dink had always spoken the language of peace and love. That is why they had been targeted. They twisted their words. Both of them had been blacklisted by the judicial system.”

Biçer: They always strike at our conscience

Board member of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and forensic expert Prof. Dr. Ümit Biçer said that Tahir Elçi is the conscience of this country: “They always strike at our conscience; this is also what happened when Dink was murdered. We said that we won't be accomplices. We continue to explain compassion and conscience to the ancient peoples of this land. We continue to speak up for peace and defend life. We miss you a lot.”

Elçi: He always said that we are on the edge of a cliff

Türkan Elçi said that Tahir Elçi said to her that Turkey will end up like Aleppo: “He always said that we are on the edge of a cliff. However, he was left alone in the middle of the war.

“His only concern was to give voice to the wronged ones. He had never held grudge or sought for vengeance. He was so humane that he demanded justice even for the ones who tortured him. He expressed his sorrow about a police officer who was shot to death in Diyarbakir.

“His position on the side of the wronged ones bothered some people. He was killed because of his influence on the public and his role as a bridge between Kurdish and Turkish people. He killed in a chaotic environment in order to conceal the perpetrators. The feelings of the ones who demand co-existence were murdered with him.

“After he left, first we lost our speech, then our sight. Young people die everyday, making some people happy and some others vengeful, since death is only about numbers for some people.

“We saw kings, queens and knights in our lives. We were just pawns.

“As we kept silent, the ones who killed us raised their voices.

“We, the ones who suffered, shout out in the face of the ones who say that we inherited only dying and killing: we renounce our inheritance rights.”


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Gözde Kazaz