Tufan Erhurman, leader of the north’s largest opposition party the CTP, on Wednesday joined calls for those responsible for the collapse of the Isias hotel to be charged with intentionally killing those who died as a result.
The Isias hotel was located in Adiyaman, Turkey, and collapsed during the earthquakes which hit Turkey in February, killing 24 Cypriot children and 42 others, including teaching staff.
An announcement regarding indictments in Turkey is expected in the coming days.
Erhurman referred to Pervin Aksoy, a lawyer, who is leading the calls for those responsible to be charged with intentionally killing all 24 children. Her daughter Serin was among those killed.
Before entering politics, Erhurman was a law professor at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) in Famagusta.
“When I met dear Pervin, she was a very young assistant at the EMU’s law faculty. Her field was criminal law, and she was doing her master’s degree,” he began.
“I had the opportunity to closely witness her discipline, her concept of law, her seriousness, and her diligence. Then, over the years, I watched her professional development with great pleasure. I also witnessed her become a mother,” he said.
He went on to heap praise on Aksoy’s achievements in the field of law, before saying “unfortunately, Pervin faced the biggest test a mother can face in life. The test was [the loss of] Serin, whom she loved more than life itself, her darling. Our darling.”
“On this issue of ‘intent’ or ‘negligence’, which came before us in this case, I talked to many criminal lawyers. After all, it’s not my area of expertise. I tried to correct my shortcomings and understand them. I think I understand.”
“The most important thing for me was Pervin’s evaluation. I knew she would never lose her objectivity no matter what. I picked up the phone a few times and put it down. Then, trying to gather my strength, I called her. As always, she explained the matter in detail, with examples, in a way which one would understand even if one were not a lawyer,” he said.
He added, “Pervin says ‘possible intent’. So do many criminal lawyers, and the grieving families of those who lost their children. Wherever I look, I see possible intent, not negligence.”
“Let justice come and come as soon as possible to hold the hands of our children and families,” he said.
Previously, Aksoy had asked “are 66 lives only worth 22 and a half years?”
“You stole everything from us, our whole life is over. Everything has been shattered, our lives are lost, how can you think of getting away with such a light punishment? Don’t even try to imagine how I feel, longing for my daughter for a lifetime, pursuing you for a lifetime, everywhere, all the time,” she added.
Recent scientific reports into the hotel building showed that sand and gravel from a river had been used to construct it and that a whole floor had been added to the top of the building without the relevant licences being obtained.
Another report showed that supporting columns at the hotel had been “cut”.
Following the release of that report, Oguzhan Hasipoglu, chairman of the north’s political affairs ‘parliamentary’ committee, told the families of those killed that “we always said a murder was committed at the Isias hotel.”