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The Oral History Collection of the Memory Museum for Historical Justice includes audio and video testimonies. In this permanent collection, narratives serve as an effective tool in the struggle for historical justice by providing primary data for violations and by building a counter-memory against the official narratives of the State. Each testimony is the product of a unique process co-created with the narrators and gives us the opportunity to re-imagine the historical processes that the official narrative distorts, reconstructs, censors or destroys. As a collective undertaking, this counter-memory sheds light on nuanced, in-depth and wide-ranging narratives that make us a constituent to a transparent and public archive produced from the bottom up.

Witnessing The Witness (Tanığa Tanıklık Etmek)

When the narrator breaks their silence, they invite us to witness the violations through their story. The truth stands naked before our eyes and we become partners in the narrator’s traumas, silences, resentment or sadness. Oral historian Eylem Delikanlı invites us to witness a holistic story of the 1980 Coup d’État through the multiple narratives in Witnessing the Witness, with layers of recent history such as crimes against humanity, resistance, advocacy and organizing. The fluid juxtaposition of different themes, without any prior knowledge of the narratives as a whole, reveals both unique and ubiquitous coup stories. They offer us a subtle lens through which we witness the violations and violence perpetrated by the military, security forces and those in power.

Narrators: İlkay Alptekin Demir, Bülent Aydın, Cevriye Aydın, Pakrat Estukyan, Demet Demir, Ayhan Erdoğan, Gülçin Aksoy, Aydın Çavlan Erdoğan, Esra Koç, Kazım Bayraktar, Ümit Efe, Fatin Kanat, Emel Ataktürk Sevimli, Öncü Doğu Gürsoy, Rahime Kesici Karakaş, Mahmut Döğer, Hamit Kapan, Bülent Forta, Olgun Delikanlı, Hüseyin Aykol, Hamit Kankılıç, Mehmet Erdal, Sezai Sarıoğlu, İkbal Eren, Mustafa Özer, Mikail Kırbayır, Berin Uyar, Rıdvan Akar, Deniz Erdem, Ayşe Tekiner Çelen, Mustafa Kemal Kaçaroğlu, Şenal Sarıhan, Gülten Kaya, Hediye Bakmaz, Mustafa Yalçıner, Aydın Çubukçu, Rahmi Yıldırım, Ergün Yılmaz, Dursun Kırbaş, Mustafa Yükselbaba, Hosrof Dink, Kamil Tekin Sürek, İbrahim Aydın, Bese Doğan, Faruk Eren, Gündüz Vassaf, Nebi Barlas, Ümide Çelik.

Content: 120 audio and video recording

Oral Historian:
Eylem Delikanlı

Recording & Editing:
Çağrı İşbilir (2021, 2022, 2023)
Fatih Pınar (2021)

Ali Cihan Yılmaz (2023)
Cem Çağlayan (2023)
Rodi Yüzbaşı (2022)
Selen Çatalyürekli (2021)
Hilal Baş (2021)

Oral History Coordinator:
Gözde Bedeloğlu (2023)
Berfin Atlı (2021, 2022)


During the September 12, 1980 Coup, torture was the most widespread and systematic violation. Turkey’s first torture map confirms the names of 8,757 torture victims among 650,000 detainees, 478 locations, 45 types of torture, and more than 500 people responsible for these violations. These violations are confirmed through primary sources, and are constantly updated in the light of new data added to the collections and within the framework of the museum’s methodology. This data is associated with oral history narratives and memory objects in the Museum’s permanent collections. Thus, with the information, documents and testimonies that come together in different formats, the records of crimes against humanity are permanent and the truth is clarified.

Based on the current data, the distribution of the victims according to age and gender:



In the face of 1980 Coup’s extreme violence, some military personnel, officials and civil workers took initiatives to resist the decisions and decrees of the military regime and to prevent human rights violations and crimes against humanity. They took personal risks and faced repercussions by aiding those who were targeted by the military regime.

Refik Karaa (Military Judge and Prosecutor)

Ümit Kardaş (Military Judge)
Levent Akyüz (Prosecutor, Judge)
Osman Kaynak
Saydam Erdok
Gültekin Turan
Halit Karabulut (Air Force Captain and Prosecutor)
Hamdi Öğüş (Inspector Doctor)
Seydi Paksüt (Doctor)
Tamer Altay (Doctor)
Murat Kozanoglu (Doctor)
Nevzat (Non-commissioned Officer)
Fikret Bilge (Sergeant)
Ibrahim … (Private)
Code Name Küçümen (Corporal Private)
Code Name Cihanbeyli (Sergeant)
Ali … (First Lieutenant)
Code Name Kunta Kinte (Private)
Code Name Konyalı (Sergeant)

Refik Karaa: Right before the 1980 Coup, the chief prosecutors of all provinces gathered at the General Staff in Ankara and were ordered to file collective cases by the order of the Chief of General Staff himself. Only Refik Karaa opposed this demand. Refik Karaa’s disobedience was punished by exile. Afterwards, he did not process the statements obtained under torture.

Ümit Kardaş: He was a military prosecutor in Diyarbakır during the Coup. He stated that judges and prosecutors did not take any steps regarding the torture carried out in the corps. During this process, he filed torture cases. He was appointed in different cities and removed from his post.

Halit Karabulut: The indictment he prepared regarding the problems of the Kurdish region was withdrawn from all lawyers after this part was noticed. The indictment, in which the 27-page Kurdish history section was removed from the main text, was returned to the lawyers.

Hamdi Öğüş (Inspector Doctor): In his examination, Dr. Öğüş concluded that Güngör Kaynak abused his position by preparing a report that ignored the signs of torture. He imposed a 1-month ban on Kaynak and filed a criminal complaint with the Yenimahalle Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Seydi Paksüt: He prevented the guards who were forcing the prisoners/convicts to follow military rules during the death fast.

Dr. Tamer Altay and Dr.Murat Kozanoğlu: Despite intense threats and pressure from Eskişehir Public Prosecutor Uğur İbrahimhakkıoğlu and Major Zafer Nakışoğlu, they did not submit a report stating that the prisoners on hunger strike could be transferred to Eskişehir E Type Prison. They did not take responsibility for an inhumane transfer, but they still had to escort the detainees in the ring vehicle.

Petty Officer Nevzat: He bought and brought biscuits to the children who came to visit the prison, and took one of the children to the ward so he could see his father.

Fikret Bilge: Bilge testified and told the truth about the murder of Sıddık Bilgin, who was tortured to death in the summer of 1985. Bilgin’s body was found buried in the police station garden months later.

Private İbrahim: Private İbrahim brought salt and sugar in cones to increase the prisoners’ resistance during hunger strikes. During the smoking ban period, he would throw cigarettes over the grate and run away.

Code Name: Küçükmen (corporal): The corporal in the counting squad would act before other soldiers when his commanders gave orders, pretend to hit very fast with the baton in his hand, and never hit at all.

Code Name Cihanbeyli: He gave a sweater, cigarettes and matches to the convict in the coffin cells.

First Lieutenant Ali: He gave a sweater, cigarettes and matches to the convict in the coffin cells.

Code Name Konyalı: He was bringing pieces of meat from the dining hall to the convict in the coffin and throwing the meat from the hole 2.5 meters above the ground. He would also throw Konya candy.

Artist / Doğa Yirik
I am Who I am,2022, 34’22”

This video interview attempts to document some of the forgotten memories of Doğa Yirik’s grandmother Kıymet Karakoç (1939) who is currently in the terminal stage of dementia. The work’s title refers to a statement by Karakoç showing indifference to her identity. Because of her condition, she neither finds personal nor collective memories of her family relevant anymore. The artist attempts to record the residues of memory that she is still able to recollect through the interview. Guided by his grandson’s questions, Kıymet attempts to recount the life she had. What she is still able to give is an incoherent and inconsistent account corroborating the threat of erasure that the public memory is ever facing.

Artist / Aylin Tekiner


Written and Directed by Aylin Tekiner

This shadow play was recorded from a performance at the Satellite Theater Festival organized by the Yale School of Drama in 2016.

Duration: 14’

An interdisciplinary shadow play about a political murder that took place in Nevşehir, Turkey in 1980 .  The artist reinterprets events told to her by family members to create a unique memory play through the art of storytelling. “Do All Daddies Have Gray Suits?” explores how we mourn loved ones through the imagination of a child and her post-memory.

Timeline (Zaman Dizini)

The timeline of the Memory Museum for Historical Justice, covering the period 1960 – 1980, marks important turning points, social movements and ruptures in this period. We asked our witnesses to make their own interventions on this work, in which we can also see the transitions between different periods. They inscribed in the time index what they saw missing, what they remembered or what they wanted to convey. The result was a collaborative work in which they processed details that touch our collective memory as well as our personal memory. In this work, which is open to collective production, witnesses will be able to leave their own time indexes at the Memory Museum.

Contributors: Bülent Aydın, Ferhat Kentel, Feza Kürkçüoğlu, S. Yalçınkaya, Ümide Çelik Aysu, Ülfet Taylı.

Artist / Sevim Sancaktar

Sultanahmet Prison doors, Kadırga