Berfo Kırbayır, activist mother for missing son, dies at 105

Berfo Kırbayır, an activist mother who has been searching for her missing son under MP detention in 1980, passed away early this morning.

Berfo Kırbayır, an activist mother who has been searching for her missing son  Cemil Kırbayır under MP detention in 1980, passed away early this morning. She was 105 years old.

Berfo Kırbayır’s funeral was held in Istanbul and her body was sent to Kars province for burial, Kırbayır’s family members said.

“Like opinions have no geographies, so do people who have lost under police detention. We see similar cases in Argentina, Chile and other countries. Hundreds of mothers were deprived from crying in front of their sons’ graves. But we will continue where our Berfo Mother left the struggle,” Mikail Kirbayir told bianet.

A statement from Kirbayir family confirmed that her death cause was related to the complications following her cancer surgery.

“She dedicated her life to the search of her lost son’s relics. She was even uttering her son’s name before her death. Lately, she has even attended 1980 Coup Case trial. There she condemned the retired generals who organized the military coup. She symbolized the search for justice,” the statement said.

Cemil Kırbayır, a left-wing activist, was detained by MPs in September 1980 in Kars province and allegedly tortured to death in October 1980.

The Kırbayır case remained un-prosecuted for decades.

In February 2011, General Attorney’s Office in Kars province launched an investigation, which has yet to turn into a judicial prosecution.

In January, Turkey’s Social Democracy Foundation announced that it would give its annual award on human rights, democracy, peace and solidarity award to Berfo Kırbayır. (Bianet English)


[1] Photo courtesy of Veysi Altay.