In quest of the bones of their father


İSTANBUL - The wife and children of İzzettin Çelik, who lost his life in an armed conflict in Bitlis, has been in quest of the bones of Çelik.  As all their attempts to find the bones of the father of the family, killed and lost, remain inconclusive, their application to learn if one of the bodies buried in Kilyos belongs to Çelik has not been given response yet.

Çelik family living in İstanbul have been seraching for the bones of their father İzzettin Çelik, who lost his life in an armed conflict in the Garzan Region of the Turkey's eastern province Bitlis in 1994. 
On December 19, 2017, authorities demolished the Garzan Cemetery in Yukarı Bölek (Oleka Jor in Kurdish) village in Bitlis and removed 282 bodies without informing their families. The bodies were brought to İstanbul Forensic Medicine Institution and then buried in concrete sidewalks in Kilyos Cemetery of the nameless on İstanbul's Black Sea shore. Therefore, the Çelik family made another move to find the bones of their fathers and gave DNA test samples to apply to find their father in Kilyos. However their application has not been given any response yet.
Ahmet Çelik, the 36 year old son of İzettin Çelik told about his father and how his father was politically active in their village, telling the villagers about the rights and the freedom of the Kurdish people. Çelik indicated that that was the reason why his father was targeted: "He would always tell the rights and th struggle of Kurdish people. He used to say that our people are prisoners. He would also talk about the ban on our language and our culture. So the state would not leave him alone. He was detained many times, once he spent a whole month in detention and he was released after he was tortured. This was the cycle he was in: continuous detention and torture. It was obvious that they would not leave him alone, so he left (for the mountains)."
Referring to all the hardships and the poverty they have experienced as 7 siblings together with their mother after their father's leave, Çelik said, "Our life has been hard. We have seen great difficulties and poverty. I came to İstanbul in 1996 when I was only 15 years old to work and earn our bread. I worked here and contributed to my family. There are no words to describe the difficulties we have been through."
All the attempts the family died to find the body, who started their quest immediately after the the news that their father, remained inconclusive. "We were not able to find the body of our father in those years of 1990s due to the heavy conflicts. When they demolished Garzan Cemetery, we had a hope to maybe find him in there. Even though he was not among the bodies buried in and carried from Garzan we will not give up on our quest. The deceased bodies of our loved ones are our honour. They are our hope," said Çelik.
Emphasizing that they are proud of their father Çelik said, "We have been living with this longing, with this thought, with this quest for 26 years. If we could only find the bones of our father, we could take a bit of a breath. At least we would know that we have found our father. Until we find him, this pain will always stick with us. We want to have the body of our father. Regarding Kilyos, we do not only want the body of our father, but we want the bodies of all."

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