33 people killed in Suruç Massacre commemorated: Teacher Süleyman Aksu – Evrim Kepenek | #teacher | #children | #kids

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“What words would suffice to describe a kindhearted teacher whose dreams for children have remained unfulfilled?”

It is a question which is difficult to find an answer for. It is asked by Güneş Aksu, who lost her elder brother Süleyman Aksu with 32 others in a suicide bomb attack in the district of Suruç in Urfa on July 20, 2015.

Süleyman Aksu was born in Yüksekova in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority Hakkari province on January 22, 1990. He had nine other siblings. Graduating from the Department of English Teaching at Adana Çukurova University, he started working, but he could teach only for 3 years.

“No dreams will remain unfulfilled,” he said and wanted to send toys to children in Kobanê, Syria. He lost his life in Suruç Massacre.

‘What brought him there was his love for children’

Güneş Aksu has told bianet the following about her elder brother:

“People loved Süleyman, they trusted him very much, taking his opinions seriously. He would treat his students like friends, he loved them a lot. He loved his students, he loved children.

“What brought him there was his love for children. Süleyman himself was a bit of a child at the heart, he would bring joy to the whole household with his laughs, he would cheer up everyone.

“When he came home, our home just became somewhere else. When he came, we would start performing folk dances. He loved folk dances, writing poems, laughing and, above all else, making people laugh.

“Süleyman would think very differently than others, he would see something that others failed to see. He would approach things from a different point of view. He was filled with so much love and hope.

His dreams

“Süleyman had so many dreams, he had so many things that he wanted to do. He would write more poems, he would recite more poems. He was planning to prepare a magazine called ‘Hope’ with his students. He could have been hope for everyone, he was making great efforts for that. His passing was so premature. We miss him so much.

Elder brother Süleyman

“To me, Süleyman literally means hope. I had always admired him, he was the person that I held up as an example. His profession as a teacher, I mean, his personality of an educator impressed me the most.

“His attitude towards his students, the way he talked to them have left deep marks on me. I wanted to be a teacher, just like him.

“After his passing, my two elder sisters are now studying at the department of teaching. After him, I also went to the high school that he went and graduated from the English section. What I want to do is to qualify for the Department of English Teaching and become a teacher like him.

“Süleyman taught us to stay strong, he taught us that there was always hope in the face of every difficulty and we should not give up on anything. Maybe, he is not physically with us now, but he is still enlightening our way with what he taught us. There was something that he was constantly telling us and his students: ‘No pain, no gain.’

“After his death, I have fully understood what this idiom means. Now, what we should do is to take over this flag of teaching and carry it to the end.

The last time that she saw him

“When I saw Süleyman for the last time, he was at home with his closest friend on the second day of Ramadan Feast. After spending some time together, we said goodbye to him. He did not want us to bid farewell. ‘Why a farewell now? I will come back five days later,’ he said. Then, he touched me on my shoulder and said, ‘She is my man.’ It was apparently his last touch. He set off for Urfa and, unfortunately, I have not seen him again.


“The main factor that made him go there was his love for children, his sensitivity towards them. There were orphaned children who had been affected by the war, having lost their mothers and father. He set off to give hope to those children, he wanted to make them smile.

“When this campaign started, he also started to collect books and toys. When he shared his idea of going with the family, we were a bit concerned.

“When we expressed these concerns, my elder brother told us that being a teacher required this, he said that he had to be with children when they were going through such difficult times and, if he did not help those children, his being a teacher would have no meaning.

“As our house burned down in the period of curfews in 2016, all belongings of Süleyman burned as well. So, as you see, we are left with only his poems that he wrote and recited, his smiling face and benevolence. Nothing but memories have remained from Süleyman.”

What happened?

Upon the call of the Socialist Youth Associations Federation (SGDF), around 300 young people came together in Suruç in Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa on July 20, 2015. They were there to bring toys and humanitarian aid to Kobanê in Syria. While they were in front of the Amara Cultural Center for a statement for the press, a suicide bomb attack was carried out. 33 people lost their lives in the attack:

Koray Çapoğlu, Cebrail Günebakan, Hatice Ezgi Sadet, Uğur Özkan, Nartan Kılıç, Veysel Özdemir, Nazegül Boyraz, Kasım Deprem, Alper Sapan, Cemil Yıldız, Okan Pirinç, Ferdane Kılıç, Yunus Emre Şen, Çağdaş Aydın, Alican Vural, Osman Çiçek, Mücahit Erol, Medali Barutçu, Aydan Ezgi Salcı, Nazlı Akyürek, Serhat Devrim, Ece Dinç, Emrullah Akhamur, Murat Yurtgül, Erdal Bozkurt, İsmet Şeker, Süleyman Aksu, Büşra Mete, Duygu Tuna, Polen Ünlü, Nuray Koçan, Vatan Budak, Mert Cömert.

It was identified that Şeyh Abdurrahman Alagöz was the one who carried out the bomb attack that claimed the lives of 33 people in Suruç. A confidentiality order was imposed on the file on July 23, 2015 on the ground that “the examination of the documents in the file would jeopardize the purpose of the investigation.”

Judicial process

Filed by the Şanlıurfa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office 18 months after the massacre, the indictment demanded that three defendants, one of whom was arrested, be given aggravated life sentence aggravated for 104 times each.

Yakup Şahin, one of the defendants, was arrested as a suspect of the October 10 Ankara massacre, which claimed the lives of 103 people in 2015. According to the indictment, Deniz Büyükçelebi and İlhami Ballı, the other two defendants, are in Syria.

The lawsuit filed into the Suruç Massacre started 21 months after the incident at the Şanlıurfa 5th Heavy Penal Court on May 4, 2017. The only defendant of the case who was not a fugitive did not attend the hearing.

In the final hearing of the case filed against the public officials on January 9, 2017, Mehmet Yapalıal, the then district security director of Suruç, was fined 7,500 lira for “neglect of duty and misconduct in office.” The court has ruled that he shall pay the fine in 12 instalments.

There were two police officers as defendants in the second case against public officials, who are still tried for “misconduct in office” at the Suruç Penal Court of First Instance.


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