Murdered journalist Altun's mother: His pen was not left on the ground

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  • 11:17 23 February 2024
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ÊLIH - Türkan Altun, the mother of journalist Cengiz Altun, who was murdered in Êlih 32 years ago, stated that her son's pen remained intact and said: "Thousands of Cengizs have been raised since that day."
Although 32 years have passed since the death of Yeni Ülke newspaper Êlih reporter Cengiz Altun, who was murdered by Hizbullah on his way to report in Êlih on February 24, 1992, the perpetrators have not been found. Altun's file was one of dozens of files left on dusty shelves in the 1990s without the perpetrator being found. Having given up hope on domestic law, the Altun family took the file to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) 2 years ago.
Altun, who was born on July 9, 1968 in the Kercews (Gerçüş) district of Êlih, completed his primary, secondary and high school education here. Altun later won the Batman Vocational School Engine Department in 1990. Altun started distributing the weekly Yeni Ülke newspaper in 1991, while he was still a university student.
The period when Altun started distributing newspapers was a period when counter-guerrilla attacks were intense. For this reason, Altun, who constantly received threats, applied to the Batman Public Prosecutor's Office against the threats he received, but did not get any results. Three months after his last application, Altun was caught in the crossfire while walking on Mehtap Street to go to the newspaper office at around 08.15 in the morning on February 24, 1992. While the perpetrators fled the scene, Altun died in the hospital where he was injured.
Approximately one year after the murder, Diyarbakır Police Department teams, who were checking IDs at the Ovabağ Junction of the Amed-Mêrdîn highway, caught a person named Ismail Emsen with an unlicensed gun of 9 millimetres in diameter. In the ballistic examination, it was determined that some of the bullets that killed Altun came from this gun. Ismail Emsen, whose statement was taken, said that he was a Hizbullah supporter and that he took the gun from his brother Metin Emsen to protect himself.
Emsen, who was arrested for "possession of an unlicensed weapon" instead of murder, was sent to Diyarbakır Prison. The police neither found his brother, Metin Emsen, who said he bought the gun, nor did they conduct a detailed investigation into the incident. Emsen was released a short time later. In the report prepared by the Prime Ministry Inspection Board Chair Kutlu Savaş regarding the "Susurluk Accident", where state-politics-mafia relations were revealed, Altun's murder was included along with other journalists killed in the region.
While Altun's perpetrators have not been found despite 32 years, 76-year-old mother Türkan Altun said that the mentality that murdered her son is now a partner of the government. Noting that her son resisted oppression and cruelty at a young age, mother Altun said: “Kercews, Êlih, Amed and Sêrt were subjected to intense torture in custody. But he resisted and never backed down."
Stating that her son chose journalism to reveal the oppression of the Kurds, mother Altun said: "When he returned from Midyat, he showed me a photo of a man without two legs and said, 'Look, mom, they cut off his feet in custody and tortured his family.' Once, Hizbullah members tortured an imam in front of his wife. He also made the news about it. Wherever there was cruelty and oppression, he was there and reported it."
Reminding that his son constantly received threats, Altun said: “He did not share the threats he received with us. Those who called him on the phone were saying, 'We will discharge bullets into his ear and mouth.' Despite the threats, as soon as the sun rose in the morning, he would go out and report on the news. He thought that if he stopped, his case would be cut short. His commitment to journalism was high. He risked all the costs for this. Tortures and threats did not deter him."
Mother Altun described the moment of her son's murder with the following words: "The morning after he came from Mîdyat, he ate something and left the house in a hurry. I followed him to the door and called him to continue his meal. But he left with the love of the news. After a few hours passed, we received the news that he had been murdered. I heard our neighbors shouting. They were all shouting, 'Our journalist, our Cengiz, was shot.' I shouted, 'Such a thing can't happen, such a thing can't happen,' but it happened. I can't forget that day and those voices. They murdered my beautiful son, left him in blood. They had massacred my son. The whole family protected my son's funeral. Almost all the people from 7 to 70 flocked to the funeral that day. They supported my son's struggle. This support encouraged the journalists. It also frightened the murderers. From that day on, thousands of Cengiz were raised."
Stating that the murderers were not consciously present, mother Altun said: "When the murdered Kurd is a Kurd, there is no accountability. Mother Altun, who reacted to the fact that the file was kept on dusty shelves, stated that she was hopeful about the application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). 
Stating that the mentality that murdered his son that day was released one by one with the cooperation of AKP-MHP-HÜDA-PAR, Altun said that the Free Press tradition that resisted this mentality did not leave Cengiz's pen down. 
MA / Fethi Balaman

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