Saturday Mothers of Turkey Synopsis
Gathering in protest, the activist group the Saturday Mothers of Turkey demand the whereabouts of their disappeared detainees and call for accountability on the part of the Turkish government in the protracted Kurdish conflict.
Saturday Mothers of Turkey was an official selection of the 2011 WVN Online Film Festival.
About the Filmmaker
Bijoyeta Das is a creative writer, journalist, and photographer based in New York City.
More from the Filmmaker
With bright red carnations and laminated posters, the Saturday Mothers of Turkey sit in silence, demanding information about people who disappeared in the 1990s. Most of the missing were from Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast. They asked the same questions every Saturday at noon from 1995 to 1999. The vigils started in May 1995 with the disappearance of Hasan Ocak, who was detained by police in Istanbul on March 21. Fifty-five days later, his tortured body was uncovered in a graveyard for unidentified people. Ocak’s family and friends led the first sit-down protest.
Many families came forward with similar stories of young Kurdish men disappearing in police custody. Families and mostly veiled women, who came to be known as the Saturday mothers, led the silent vigils.