Turkey’s top court rejects application from abducted teacher’s wife

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has found inadmissible an individual application filed by the wife of a teacher who was the alleged victim of an enforced disappearance in Ankara in 2019, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Bold Medya news website.

The court’s decision concerns Özgür Kaya, who was reportedly abducted in Ankara on Feb. 13, 2019 along with three others by a group of police officers.

The men disappeared after they were purged from their state jobs due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in 2016 and subjected to a harsh crackdown for years. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed putsch.

Their families were able to receive news on their whereabouts only five months later in July 2019, when they suddenly appeared at the Ankara Police Station.

Kaya’s wife, Aycan Kaya, who waged a campaign along with the families of the other victims of the alleged enforced disappearances, filed a petition at the Constitutional Court claiming that her husband’s “right to [live a normal] life” was violated along with a constitutional article that prohibits torture and ill-treatment.

However, the court rejected her application on the grounds that she withdrew her application at the European Court of Human Rights regarding the disappearance of her husband.

Following his reappearance, Özgür Kaya, who lost around 20 kilograms and showed signs of having been subjected to torture or ill-treatment, said in his police testimony that he was not abducted or subjected to torture and that he was in hiding of his own free will.

Kaya also told his wife, whom he saw at the police station for 30 minutes, to withdraw the complaints she had filed regarding his disappearance and not to meet with any lawmakers regarding his situation. The woman withdrew her application at the European Court of Human Rights.

The top court’s decision came in disregard of a report drafted by the Ankara Bar Association about the seven people who were allegedly kidnapped in 2019 by Turkish authorities as well as a criminal complaint filed by the bar against government officials regarding the disappearance of the seven people.

Out of the seven people who went missing in 2019, a former civil servant, Yusuf Bilge Tunç, still has not been found.

Among the other six, four of them including Kaya were released pending trial at an Ankara court, where they said they were not abducted or subjected to torture. The other two men, who said they were abducted and subjected to acts of torture during their disappearance, were given lengthy jail sentences.

Dozens of people have reportedly been abducted by Turkey’s intelligence agency in a massive post-coup crackdown targeting Gülen movement followers in the aftermath of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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