Daughter of abducted former bureaucrat asks President Erdoğan to help find her father

Nursena Küçüközyiğit, whose father Hüseyin Galip Küçüközyiğit is suspected to be the latest victim of enforced disappearance, called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to help find him in a video she posted on Twitter.

“I have not heard from my father for weeks,” she said. “Imagine your own daughters, and how they would feel if they had not heard from you for so long. I’m worried that investigations are progressing too slowly. A word from you would ensure that my father is found safe and sound. I am sure you will consider my plea.”

Küçüközyiğit has been missing since December 29. He was a successful lawyer who served as the chief legal counsel for the Turks Abroad and Related Communities Agency (YTB). He was fired from his job by a government decree in the aftermath of a coup attempt in July 2016. He was later sentenced to six years, three months in prison for “membership in a terrorist organization” due to his alleged ties to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen. Küçüközyiğit was released from pretrial detention pending appeal.

President Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following the coup attempt, that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

Amnesty International issued an urgent call for action at the beginning of February for a thorough investigation of Küçüközyiğit’s disappearance.

Nearly 30 people have reportedly been abducted by Turkish intelligence since 2016. Most of the abductions targeted members of the Gülen movement. Many of the abductees mysteriously reappeared in police custody in Ankara after six to nine-month absences.

Apparently intimidated, most of them had kept their silence after their reappearance. Speaking at a court hearing in February 2020, one of the abductees, Gökhan Türkmen, revealed that he had been held incommunicado at a black site in Ankara run by Turkey’s intelligence agency and subjected to severe torture during his 271-day stay. Türkmen was the object of threats and was sexually harassed and abused during his enforced disappearance. He also alleged that he was visited in prison and threatened no less than six times by officials who introduced themselves as intelligence officers, pressuring him to retract his allegations of abduction and torture made at the February hearing.

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