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Father fined for demanding his son’s remains: Justice in Turkey

The hunger strike that Kemal Gün has been on for 35 days to demand the remains of his son, who was killed in an airstrike in Dersim, has been deemed a misdemeanor, Remzi Budancır reported for artıgerçek from Dersim, Turkey’s southeast city. For each day of his strike, Budancır reported, he is being fined 227 Turkish liras.

As Kemal Gün continues the hunger strike he began in Dersim in order to collect his son’s remains, the government has started to fine him daily. Explaining that he is being fined 227 Turkish liras under the ‘Code of Misdemeanors,’ Gün admits, “My total fine has reached 7 to 8 thousand.” He added that the fine increases daily.

Turkey is preparing for the April 16 referendum. The ruling party has invested significant resources in the “Yes” campaign nationwide. Rally speeches made by the president and vice president are broadcast live. At a time when the state of emergency, continuing operations in the region, clashes, and deaths do not carry enough weight to be publicized in regular news, a father continues his wait in Dersim next to a statue of Seyit Rıza, a historical Kurdish leader.


Though Kemal Gün is from Erzincan, his son Murat Gün was killed in the Çet Deresi part of Dersim as one of the 11 DHKC (a Marxist party classified as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US, and the EU) members that died in airstrikes on November 7 2016. Kemal Gün went to the city as soon as he learned of his son’s death, but was unable to collect his son’s remains. After pursuing all official avenues for obtaining his son’s remains, Gün started a hunger strike. The strike that he began next to the statue of Seyit Rıza is now in its 35th day.


Sharing how his son lost his life in the November 7 2016 airstrike, Gün said, “The bodies were destroyed in the bombing. Following the operation, a few fragments of the dead bodies were collected from the shelter, and the nameless were buried in graves. 6 bodies, including my son’s, were left in the shelter.


Describing how upon learning six bodies remained in the shelter, he went to the scene to collect his son’s remains himself, Gün explained, “The shelter was demolished. After we uncovered the collapsed part, we encountered burned bodies. We collected the remaining bone fragments among the ashes. The largest bone was 6 centimeters. We turned the bones, along with a strand of woman’s hair that we found in the shelter, over to the authorities. They have been continuing their investigation for five months. We’ve entered the sixth month, but still have not received the remains. I want to receive either my son’s remains, or all of the bones so that I may entomb them and have a grave to visit my son. I submitted a petition with all of these requests. But I still have not received any answers.”


Stating that he has been taken into custody 5 or 6 times during his hunger strike, Gün adds that he has been fined. “They’ve started fining me under the ‘Code of Misdemeaners.’ I am fined 227 liras each day. The total fine has reached 7-8 thousand liras. The fine will continue compounding each day I continue my strike. I am contesting the fine through lawyers. No matter what fine they hit me with, I am going to continue my hunger strike until I receive my son’s remains.”

Translated by Oya Aktaş

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