No Mother’s Day for Kurdish Mothers


Kurdish mothers did not celebrate Mother’s Day this year either. Some of them have children who are guerillas in the mountains, some of them are behind bars, and some have lost their lives in conflicts.

Özgür Gündem Newspaper in Turkey has spoken with Kurdish mothers who wish for peace and justice despite the indescribable pain and suffering they have gone through for years.

One of these mothers is Cazya Atabak, who lost her daughter, Mizgin Atabay, in the conflict in the Kurdish city of Elazığ. Mother Cazya says that Kurdish mothers have been exposed to the greatest pain during the conflicts that have continued over the last 30 years.

We have lost our children, our most beloved ones, in this war. But we have never given up on our struggle. We – as Kurdish mothers – have always wanted and supported peace. Now our guerillas are withdrawing. Our guerillas should reach their destination safe and sound. If they do not exist, we will not exist either.

Hanım Özer lost her son, Hacı Özer, in a conflict in 1993. She says that she will never believe her son has died until the day she sees his DNA tests:

I don’t want other mothers to go through so much pain. We have already lost our children. Nobody can take that pain away from our hearts. But we have not seen any funerals for the last two months. That is why, we are happy. But now we are worried about our other children. We believe in them and trust them. We will always support our struggle.

Havva Sabur’s two children, Cumali and Abdullah, have joined the PKK forces. Her other son died under torture and her grandchild is in prison. She does not know what has happened to her other two children:

We have been waiting for 20 years. When it is cold and rainy, I always think about my children. We want this war to be over. We want to have our children beside us.

Another Kurdish mother named Mürrüvvet Demir said:

I am a mother and when my nine children were born, I had dreams about their future. I thought they would marry one day and I would have grandchildren.

But two of them became martyrs, two are guerillas in the mountains and my other son is in prison.

After all that suffering, how can I say that Mother’s Day is a beautiful day? When my children bring me roses on Mother’s Day, I take them so I won’t make my children sad. But I have lost my true roses. How can I be happy with fake ones?

Mother’s Day will be beautiful when I come together with my children again. How can we be happy on such days? Can we be happy by thinking about our children in the mountains?

The most beautiful and meaningful gift for mothers will be peace. So do not reject the hand that is extended for peace. If the resolution process comes out well, then, mothers will eventually be able to say ‘we now have a day to celebrate’.

Heves Karalı is one of the thousands of Kurdish mothers who want a just peace:

I really would like this resolution process to be brought to a favorable conclusion. As a real gift on Mother’s Day, we would like to make peace and to have our children back safe and sound.

Nezire Baran’s husband was a victim of an unidentified murder:

My husband was murdered in the third year of our marriage. I have been continually exposed to pressure and torture ever since. I have suffered so much as a mother and have not been able to find even the bones of my husband. We have been suffering for years. But I still hope that mothers waiting for their children will come together with their children soon.

Kurdistan is a land whose boundaries have been drawn with human bones still waiting to be found by their loved ones.

Hence, having been a matter of debate in various national and international platforms for decades, the Kurdish issue in Turkey is not only a subject to be discussed by politicians and academicians, but also an issue of humanity that all citizens of the world should raise awareness about as it concerns a people who has been subjected to the worst disasters of mankind including ethnic cleansing, mass graves, chemical attacks and bombings.

The Kurdish issue is not an ordinary political issue.

It is about a people who have been deprived of all their national rights by being designated first as “mountain Turks”, then as “terrorists”.

It is about a language that was outlawed for decades.

It is about a people who was killed or forced to pay a fine when they spoke their native language in the streets.

It is about thousands of victims that have disappeared one day and have never been found just because they were born as the sons and daughters of Kurdish mothers.

It is about parents who were made to change the Kurdish names of their children.

It is about Kurdish villages that were virtually wiped from the map and people that were displaced and left homeless.

It is about thousands of political prisoners whose lives have been taken away from them.

It is about millions who live as migrants, refugees and asylum seekers miles away from their homeland.

It is about a people who still do not have any national rights in their own indigenous land, but still get called “terrorists”.