The New Journos

‘I Entrust Gulistan’s Case to the Conscientious People of This Country’

An elder sister is looking for her younger sibling who has been missing for 139 days. She has not left Dersim after going there on the day she heard Gulistan went missing.


“If I leave, she thinks that I give up looking for her, if I leave, I can never find her,” says Aygul Doku, the elder sister of Gulistan Doku, a student of Munzur University in Dersim, southeast Turkey.

The governor’s office, the prosecutor’s office… She has knocked on every door for months. She calls out the conscientious people of the country: “Be my voice, my sister shouldn’t be added to the list of the missing.”

It is said that she committed suicide, but Aygul has never believed that. She wants to know what happened to her sister.

“She had cried for days when Ceren was killed”

Aygul talks about their family, herself and her sister, who loves life and has ideals:

“We are seven siblings. Gulistan was the youngest in our house but she was never a spoiled child. She always had a very mature mindset, she was a special child. She was very sensitive and loveful to her family. She has not broken the hearts of any of us so far.

“She was especially very sensitive about women’s problems, feminicides. When Ceren Ozdemir was killed, she had cried for days. When Ozgecan (Aslan) was killed, she was only 15 or 16 years old but her heart was shattered.

“She even participated in a demonstration for Ozgecan. At that very young age, she was questioning, ‘Can a woman be killed just because she went out at night, was it her wrong to be the only person in the van?’ I wasn’t asking these questions, but she was asking at that age.”

“She was sensitive about the elderly, children and animals”

“Gulistan was different from all of us. She would read books and watch movies a lot. Her social sensitivity was very high. She was extremely sensitive to the elderly, children and animals. If she saw an elderly person with bags in his/her hands, she would run to take the bags. She would especially love children. I have nine nephews and nieces. I buy them a lot of toys, but if you would ask them, they love Gulistan the most.

“By the way, the name of Gulistan’s most beloved nephew is Serhat. As a coincidence, the name of the prosecutor of Gulistan’s file is also Serhat. Sometimes I say, ‘This coincidence must have a reason,’ I pray that it will contribute to finding Gulistan.”

“She would give half of the milk in the house to cats on the street”

“Does a person make a distinction between his/her siblings? Gulistan was more to me than any of my other siblings. This wasn’t because she was the youngest of us. She had characteristics that fascinated me. I never forget one day; she was also a child but bought food for another child.

“She would bring half of the milk in the house to cats on the street. We grew up in a village, we, the other siblings, had difficulties but Gulistan did not. Despite that, she was extremely sensitive about any living being on the street, she would empathize with every oppressed person.

“I don’t think such a person can commit suicide. Gulistan was an emotional yet strong person. She would love herself, she would love life, she would know how to enjoy life. She would view love and men in a different way. She was young, but she wouldn’t accept a man’s domination or jealousy.”

“She had a dream of opening a kindergarten”

“She was an idealist, who experienced love beautifully but was not depressed when she was in love. She would live life to the fullest. She had a dream of buying a house for my mother one day. She had a dream of opening a kindergarten.

“For 130 days, I run to every young girl in Dersim as if they are Gulistan. I see Gulistan in everyone’s face. Sometimes I call out to them, then I sit down and cry because they are not her. I missed my sister so much that I would hug her dead body, even if I won’t be able to be together with her alive.”

“I would accept a grave rather than her remaining missing”

“It’s not reasonable to say these but I would accept a grave rather than her remaining missing for a lifetime. I would even accept hugging the ground. I would know she had a place. My mother and father live and breathe her. I saw my father crying for the first time in my life.

“Governor said that she sent a letter to Ankara for emptying the dam but an answer has not come yet. I haven’t gone home for 139 days. For 139 days, I have been looking for my sister in a city that is said to be the safest city in Turkey.

“Gulistan was a bright, young person who did not discriminate against people with regards to religion, language, race, or identity. I entrust Gulistan’s case to those who don’t discriminate against people with regards to religion, language, race, or identity, to the conscientious people of this country. They should see Gulistan as a child in their own homes.”

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