Story of ordinary violence

Story of ordinary violence


This is the appalling story of Emine Gulmez who broke her silence after 18 years of solitude and fear.
Emine Gulmez and her husband were taken into custody where she later saw seven death bodies, including her husband’s, though it was impossible to officially identify. Like many others tormented in the region, Gulmez could not speak out for the sake of her children.
Now, after 5,000 extrajudicial killings by Turkish forces in the region, this widow feels it is time to speak out.
“My husband Sabri Gulmez had worked in Saudi Arabia for years. He returned for 20 days of vacation in 1992. We were living in Nurlu village in Gercus district of Batman. We went to the field for work on 12 June, 1992. There was a military operation around our villages those days.
Suddenly we were surrounded by soldiers. I thought that soldiers were going to hurt us and I told my husband. He said, ‘We have done nothing so there is no reason for the soldiers to hurt us.’
He was trying to calm us down. Soldiers took my scarf to use it as blind fold for my husband and forced him to lie on the ground while they beat him with his own belt. Then they took us to the station where we were held until evening. I was released but my husband was not. They threatened me if I spoke and I came to home to wait his release. There was no news from him until next morning. The village headman had been called by the gendarmerie to identify seven dead bodies in the station. I went with them and saw the bodies broken into pieces except one. Their hands, legs and heads were ripped off. My husband’s body wasn’t broken to pieces but his face was impossible to identify. His brain, eyes, teeth were dismantled, arms and fingers were broken many times. And there was a stone in his head. I recognized him because of his clothes and we counted 75 bullets in his chest. The soldiers did not allow us to take the bodies after the identification. They told us if we take the bodies we have to be ready to die. Then they buried the bodies without any legal investigation.
I’m a mother of six and since then I could not speak about it for sake of my children.” Gulmez recently applied to the Human Rights Association (IHD) for legal help. She asked IHD to find her husband’s killers and punish them.
A lawyer from IHD, Serdar Celebi, explained that a flood of complaints has poured out ever since 17,000 disappeared since 1990 in the region: “We are going to help and begin the legal process for the Gulmez family.”


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