Families of fallen soldiers want martyrdom bill from gov’t

Families of fallen soldiers want martyrdom bill from gov’t

October 23, 2009, Friday/ 17:54:00
Yavuz Alphan, the father of a soldier killed in action and the head of the İzmir Families of Martyrs Association, delivered a letter containing the requests of relatives of fallen soldiers to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the prime minister's recent visit to İzmir.

In the one-page letter, Alphan advocated the passage of a martyrdom bill to treat martyrs associations as benevolent associations and ensure that siblings of fallen soldiers found employment in the private sector. "We will do whatever is necessary," Alphan quoted the prime minister as saying.

After his son Mustafa was killed in an armed clash with members of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Silopi in 1992, Alphan established the İzmir Families of Martyrs Association and has served as its president for 13 years. He said that although he does not attend any dinners hosted by political parties, he decided to attend a dinner Prime Minister Erdoğan would attend in Balçova in order to give him a letter detailing fallen soldiers' families' problems. "The association in Manisa cannot pay their rent, their phone lines are no longer operational and the landlord wants to remove them by court order. We wanted help from the governor's office in Manisa.

When I heard that the prime minister would come to İzmir, I did something for the first time in my life. Although I have never attended a dinner hosted by a political party, I went and gave the prime minister a three-item letter about the situation in Manisa. One item was about the passage of a martyrdom bill. In Turkey, there are no laws concerning martyrdom.

Martyrdom exists only as a religious term. Due to the lack of legislation, we are treated like widows and orphans. A martyrdom law should be passed so that families of fallen soldiers can get some relief. I am 73 years old. At this age, I will never become an orphan. I have been sad over the lack of a martyrdom law since 1995, when I first established this association," he said.

Alphan noted that he also asked Prime Minister Erdoğan to treat martyrs associations as benevolent association. "If this is done, the state will provide some relief to these associations. It will pay their rent and cover phone bills. Thus, they will need no one. This was what I feel sorry about. There are 130 martyrs associations in Turkey. If their rent or bills are paid by the state, they will be relieved to some extent and can resume their work with peace of mind," he said.

He further stated that he had a chance to chat with the prime minister after handing him the letter. "If they can hopefully do this, 130 associations and families of martyrs will be happy. I have no personal expectations. I hope they can do this. I only want the families of martyrs to be happy," he said.

Touching also on the democratic initiative and the surrender of PKK members from the Kandil Mountains, Alphan pointed out that as a father of a fallen soldier, his sole desire is the introduction of peace to Turkey, with no more sorrow. "If they will come down from the mountains, they may do it. Let everyone mind their own business. Let our homeland develop and let the unemployed find jobs. Let Turkey develop. Let us be among the leading countries of the world. Let us be happy and prosperous. Why are people born to this world? To fight? If we develop good relations with each other, shouldn't it be better? Who will win or lose then?" he asked.

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