Time to act on enforced disappearances in Turkey
In blatant violation of national laws and an open defiance to its commitments under the international human rights laws, Turkish government under the oppressive regime of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has started again resorting to enforced disappearances and some unlawful abductions, a practice that is reminiscent of dark periods pf 1990s.
The abductions appear to have been perpetrated by elements linked to the Turkish government as part of an intimidation campaign targeting critics and opponents of Turkey’s president. Most victims in recent waves of kidnappings are believed to be affiliated with the Gülen movement which is inspired by the US-based Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen who has been a vocal critic of Erdoğan on corruption and Turkish government’s aiding and abetting of Jihadist groups.
In one case confirmed by Stockholm Center for Freedom, an abductee was kept as a hostage and tortured for 42 days in an unknown location by men who identified themselves as police. Yet, he was later turned over to police for official custody and forced to sign a confession to a crime he said he had not committed. In many cases, the evidence such as CCTV footages by suggest a similar pattern by which a black Transporter Volkswagen was used in whisking away innocent people.
The government has never made any statement to these reports despite it was raised in the Parliament by an opposition lawmaker. Families of victims complain that prosecutors and police show indifference to their complaints and they claim that authorities are unwilling to investigate cases.
The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances criticized Turkey last year on these practices that are reminiscent of 1980s and 1990s during which many Kurds were abducted and believed to be killed by elements linked to the Turkish state. Their fates are still unknown as of today.
“Turkey needs to come to terms with past disappearances, and it needs to do so in a comprehensive manner,” said a delegation of the UN group following an official five-day visit that was held between 14 and 18 March 2016.
Over the years, the UN Working Group has transmitted 202 cases to Turkey, of which 79 are still outstanding. The cases with the Working Group mainly relate to disappearances occurred between 1992 and 1996 in the South-East.
Since the unlawful abduction by security services has made a comeback in Turkey with some dozen cases reported so far, SCF continues to urge Turkish government to halt this practice and advise international organizations to keep pressure on Turkey for a thorough investigation of these abductions and punishing perpetrators.
Here SCF will keep publishing the names of those who have gone missing because of suspected involvement by the elements of Turkey’s notorious security services.
SCF has also issued a comprehensive report on their cases in June report, which can be accessed from here (http://stockholmcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Enforced-Dissappearences-in-Turkey_22_June_2017.pdf)