“The fate of 264 out of 472 people known to have been forcibly disappeared throughout the 1990s cannot be determined,” said Eren Keskin, chair of Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD).
According to a report by the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency on Thursday, Keskin also noted that the remains of 208 people have been found after lengthy and painful processes and the investigation into the files of over 200 people is still ongoing.
Keskin stated that around 40 files were dismissed, saying they have reached the statute of limitations for investigations. More than 70 applications have been made to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) regarding 129 of 344 people who have been forcibly disappeared. Some 55 cases involving 103 persons have been recorded as “infringement” or “unacceptable,” while others are being investigated.
Close to 500 people disappeared throughout the 1990s, while in the custody of Turkish police or security forces. Their families demand justice every Saturday in İstanbul and Diyarbakır.
Keskin said a country in which disappearances under custody is state policy cannot put a time limit on such cases if there is to be proper investigation and justice served.
The 1990s were the time when most of these disappearances in custody occurred. Thousands of villages were burned by Turkish security forces and people were forced to migrate. Many people disappeared after being taken into custody. Those who are said to be responsible for all these crimes are actually benefiting from impunity, and in fact some were rewarded and even promoted.
The Saturday Mothers have been meeting every Saturday in Galatasaray Square in İstanbul to remind successive governments that they are not going away until justice is served.