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Meetings of Conscience Father's Day: Moments of Sharing Pains and Hopes

Conscience Foundation was founded in 2023 by human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu. The Foundation aims to draw attention to social problems and produce solutions by adopting the vision of a more just, compassionate and peaceful world. In this context, Meetings of Conscience are organized that bring together people from different segments of society.

The last Meeting of Conscience was held at the headquarters of our foundation on Saturday, June 8, 2024, under the title "Father's Day Meeting". In this special meeting, grieving fathers from all over Turkey came together. These fathers, from different backgrounds and social backgrounds, shared the difficulties they experienced and their struggle for rights. The purpose of the meeting was to make the voices of fathers who suffered great pain heard to the society and to support them in their search for justice.

Speeches of Participants

Engin Avcı: Engin Avcı is the father of his autistic daughter Birgül. She began a huge struggle after her daughter was diagnosed with autism in 2015. After being dismissed from her job in 2016, she moved to Samsun with her family and looked for suitable schools for her daughter's education. Many schools did not accept children with autism, but they finally found a school that accepted her daughter. Engin Avcı emphasized the difficulties faced by families of children with autism and the importance of being patient.

Devrim Tarhan: Devrim Tarhan is a father whose wife passed away due to breast cancer and took on the responsibility of his three children. While he was working at the university as an associate professor, he was dismissed by decree and suspended from his profession. During this difficult period, she experienced great difficulties with the illness and death of her husband, and took on the care of her children alone. Devrim Tarhan explained the difficulties and struggles he experienced and emphasized the importance of focusing on the education and future of his children.

Süleyman Sayın: Süleyman Sayın is a father who lost his young son Yusuf Kerim due to cancer. During his son's illness, he experienced great difficulties while his wife was in prison, and he was left alone during the hospitalization process. As Yusuf Kerim's illness progressed, the pain he experienced increased and eventually he passed away. Süleyman Sayın shared the psychological difficulties and suicidal thoughts he experienced and emphasized the importance of sharing his troubles and receiving support. He also wished that the other detainees inside would be reunited with their children as soon as possible.

Mehmet Tursun: Mehmet Tursun experienced deep pain when his son Baran Tursun lost his life by a police bullet. Baran was shot while returning from his birthday party in Izmir on the grounds that he did not obey the police's stop warning. Mehmet Tursun stated that he was the only father who thanked his son's murderer. He explained that after his son's death, the police tried to cover up the incident, but thanks to the work of Baran's heart, the truth was revealed. Mehmet Tursun, who struggled with the injustices they experienced, stated that he established a foundation to keep his son's memory alive and supported families who experienced similar pain.

Menderes Gündüz: Menderes Gündüz is a father who lost his son Umut in a traffic accident. Umut was interested in cycling and died in 2021 after being hit by a drunk driver during training. Menderes Gündüz began his search for justice after his son's death. He was very disappointed that the driver who caused his son's death was not sentenced to prison. Menderes Gündüz, who continues his fight for justice with the support of social media and public opinion, explained the injustices they experienced and the difficulties he experienced in this process, and stated that he will continue his struggle to find justice.

Murat Turan: Murat Turan is a father who lost his autistic son Ömer Faruk due to heart disease. Murat Turan, who was dismissed by decree after the July 15 coup attempt, had a hard time in prison. Stating that his son had a heart problem when he was born and was diagnosed with autism, Murat Turan explained that they made great efforts for his son's education. He stated that his son's education was disrupted while he was in prison, and then his son's disease relapsed. Murat Turan emphasized the importance of justice by sharing the pain of not being able to see his son one last time and the traumas and difficulties he experienced in this process.

Mesut Çelik: Mesut Çelik is a father who lost his high school student son Şerif Mesut. His son was executed in Diyarbakır and he started to seek justice after this incident. Mesut Çelik struggled with the prosecutor's office for a long time, but to no avail. Mesut Çelik stated that the prosecutor's file resulted in non-prosecution and stated that he applied to ECHR and the file is still ongoing. Mesut Çelik, underlining his search for justice and the difficulties he experienced, called out to the prosecutor's office of the Republic of Turkey and requested the file to be opened. He also expressed the traumas he experienced after his son's death, the difficulties during the funeral process and the pain his family experienced.

Fuat Zengin: Fuat Zengin is a father who sent his two sons to the military. One of his sons, Hüseyin Zengin, was detained and arrested after the coup attempt while he was serving as a helicopter pilot in the Land Forces. Fuat Zengin talked about the difficulties and struggle he experienced after his son was taken into custody, and expressed the injustices his son faced in his search for justice. He stated that he suffered greatly due to the ill-treatment of his son during the detention period, unlawful trials and the health problems he experienced. He also addressed state officials and the public and called for support to ensure justice is served.

Nusret Doğruak: Nusret Doğruak was detained and arrested in Ankara in 1973, when he was a university student, and was unjustly tortured. Nusret Doğruak, who founded the Ankara Higher Education Association, was arrested due to the association's poster campaign against university exams. Although he returned to his civil service after the September 12 coup, he was subjected to various pressures and was eventually dismissed as 1402. Nusret Doğruak had difficulty finding a job, even in the private sector. Stating that his daughter Ceren Doğruak was constantly subjected to police surveillance due to her political activities and eventually had to go abroad, Nusret Doğruak experienced great pain when his daughter died in a car accident abroad. Expressing his problems with the state and his search for justice, Nusret Doğruak emphasized that the state should eliminate such grievances.

Haşim Efe: Haşim Efe is a retired colonel. After retiring voluntarily in 2016, he was dismissed by decree in 2017. He is the father of pilot first lieutenant Genghis Khan, who is currently serving a life sentence in prison. His son is in Silivri Prison. Haşim Efe shared the difficulties he experienced after his son was taken into custody and his struggle for justice, and expressed the unlawfulness and injustice in the judicial processes. Stating that he continues to fight tirelessly against the difficulties, health problems and social pressures experienced by his family, Haşim Efe shared his concerns and hopes for the future of the country.

Those who want to watch this meaningful meeting in its entirety can access the video of the event from the link below: [ Meeting Video Recording ]

As Conscience Foundation, we will continue to raise the voice of conscience and include the stories of people from all walks of life. We invite everyone who wants to join and support us on this journey to attend Conscience Meetings and follow the work of our foundation.

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