The role of public officers in the enforced disappearances of the last two years has been taken to the Turkish parliament by Filiz Kerestecioğlu, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
In a parliamentary question to Vice President Fuat Oktay, Kerestecioğlu asked about the whereabouts of Gülistan Doku, Hürmüz Diril, Mehmet Bal, Yusuf Bilge Tunç and Galip Küçüközyiğit and the role of public officers in their disappearances.
According to rights organizations, enforced disappearances have become worryingly common in Turkey, and most disappearances were not effectively investigated by prosecutors.
Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a human rights defender and deputy from the Republican People’s Party, said there have been 1,352 known enforced disappearances since 1980. He said authorities needed to take immediate steps to counter such incidents and to stop them once and for all.
Nearly 30 people have been abducted by Turkish intelligence since 2016. Most of the abductions targeted members of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen. 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.
However, one abductee revealed in court he was subjected to torture during the time he was missing.
Yusuf Bilge Tunç, a former public servant, has been missing since August 2019. Hüseyin Galip Küçüközyiğit, who had been missing since December 2020, has been found and is currently in a prison in Ankara, according to his daughter. Both men are feared to have been abducted by the Turkish intelligence service.
There have also been people not linked to the movement disappearing under suspicious circumstances, and family members have complained that the authorities have not conducted the necessary investigations to find them.
The family of Gülistan Doku, a young Kurdish woman who went missing on January 5, 2020, started a sit-in in July in front a courthouse in Tunceli province, saying the police covered up the fate of their daughter and failed to carry out the duties of their job.
A Chaldean couple disappeared on January 11, 2020 from their village in southeastern Şırnak province. The body of the wife, Şimoni Diril, was found 70 days later not far from the village, but the husband Hürmüz Diril is still missing.
Chaldeans are a minority Christian group who share a common history with Assyrians but have a separate church.
The Dirils were one of the families who had to move from their village in 1989, and a year later it was burned to the ground by security forces because the villagers had refused to join the village guards to fight the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed secessionist group considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Turkey and the European Union.
Mehmet Bal went missing on January 24, 2020 in İstanbul, where he came from Batman to visit his son in the Silivri Prison. Since then, his fate and whereabouts have been unknown.