Ümit Horzum, a Turkish citizen who was abducted from his car in Ankara on December 6, 2017 and handed over to the Ankara police last Monday, is being subjected to torture, torment and excruciating pain at the Ankara Police Department’s Organized Crime Bureau, Turkish journalists Erk Acarer and Bülent Ceyhan tweeted.
Similar information was shared by Ümit Horzum’s wife on her Twitter account based on the observations of Horzum’s lawyer during a visit to his client.
Horzum was removed from his job at the Turkish Accreditation Agency (TURKAK) by a government decree issued last year due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement. He was reportedly found on April 17, after which the police informed his wife, Aynur Horzum, that her husband was in police custody. Yet, according to the Twitter account, neither his family nor his lawyer had been allowed to see Horzum at that time.
According to journalist Ceyhan, who tweeted on Friday, Horzum is being held at the Ankara Police Department’s Organized Crime Bureau and sustained broken ribs and a burst eardrum after he was brought there.
Horzum’s disappearance first made it to the headlines when a Twitter account believed to be managed by Ümit Horzum’s wife tweeted in late 2017 : “I haven’t heard from my husband Ümit Horzum since Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017, 6 pm. … Following media reports on tortured detainees, my husband was scared and he left home to hide. … A short while after his leaving, gendarmes came to our home to detain him. … He had not been living at home since then. A few days ago one of his friends stopped by to say that his car was stopped and that he was abducted by force. [His friend] left without answering any further questions.”
AT LEAST 12 PEOPLE ABDUCTED SINCE JULY 15, 2016
Mysterious disappearances involving already-victimized opposition groups have become a common occurrence in Turkey in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
At least 12 people have reportedly been abducted so far. The abductions in 11 cases took place in 2017, according to a report by the Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV).
Previously, three teachers, a lawyer, a university employee, two intelligence agency officials, an Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) employee, a Competition Authority employee and an agricultural engineer have been reportedly abducted, while one of the teachers was handed over by unidentified men to police after spending 42 days out of sight. Also, an Ankara man named Sunay Elmas was reported to have been abducted, but this particular case took place on Jan. 27, 2016.
Those not seen for quite some time mostly have in common in their personal histories that they lost their jobs amid a sweeping crackdown the Turkish government has conducted against its critics, particularly alleged members of the Gülen movement.
Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)