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On the occasion of the International Week of the Disappeared (May 17-31), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu has prepared a report of forced disappearances in Turkey between 1980 and 2020.
While forced disappearances mostly occurred after the military coup in September 1980 and during the “low-intensity warfare” in the southeast in the 1990s, there has been an increase in cases since the coup attempt in July 2016, Tanrıkulu said.
He also noted that Turkey is not a party to the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
Cases in 2019 and 2020
There were seven cases of forced disappearances in the last year, Tanrıkulu said, citing a report by the Human Rights Foundation (İHD). Families of six of those people applied to the association. Five of them were found alive after applications to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. It was understood that they were tortured, the report said.
Forced disappearances by years
The number of cases by year according to the Center for Truth, Justice and Memory:
Since the 1990s, the number of people who went missing after being detained has reached 1.388, according to another report by the İHD. There are 253 mass graves with more than 4,000 people, the report said.
Four people have disappeared so far this year. Gülistan Doku (22) went missing in Dersim on January 5, Hürmüz Diril (71) and Şimoni Diril (65) went missing in Kovankaya village, Şırnak, on January 11 and Mehmet Bal (65) went missing in İstanbul on January 24.
As of 2017, investigations about the disappearance of 218 people out of 344 (63 percent) were neglected, 24 investigations (7 percent) ended due to the statute of limitations, a decision of non-prosecution was given in 18 investigations (5 percent) and cases were opened for the disappearance of 84 people (24 percent), according to the Center for Memory.
“A truth commission should be established”
Tanrıkulu called on the authorities to reveal what happened to the disappeared and open the state archives on the incidents.
“It is necessary to carry out the opening of graves related to the discovery of the fate of the disappeared in accordance with the relevant international standards and to prevent the loss/destruction of findings by carelessly opening graves with construction machinery.
“We call on the government to sign the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and fulfill the requirements of the convention.
“We call on the members of the judiciary to abandon the systematic impunity policy, to carry out an effective trial on all cases of disappearance and to ignore the statute of limitations for these crimes, in accordance with international conventions.
“We demand the establishment of the “Commission for Facing the Past and Investigation of the Truths” for the revelation of the truth and establishment of peace.”
Disappearances since 2016
Names of some of the people went missing since 2016: Sunay Elmas (27 Ocak 2016), Ayhan Oran (1 Kasım 2016), Mustafa Özgür Gültekin (21 December 2016), Durmuş Ali Çetin (17 May 2017), Hüseyin Kötüce (28 Şubat 2017), Mesut Geçer (26 March 2017), Turgut Çapan (31 March 2017), Önder Asan (1 April 2017) Cengiz Usta (4 April 2017) , Mustafa Özben (9 May 2017), Fatih Kılıç (14 May 2017) , Cemil Koçak (5 June 2017), Murat Okumuş (16 June 2017), Enver Kılıç (30 Eylül 2017), Zabit Kişi (30 Eylül 2017) , Hıdır Çelik (6 December 2017; alleged PKK membership) Ümit Horzum (6 December 2017) Ayten Öztürk (13 March 2018; alleged DHKP/C membership), Orçun Şenyücel (21 April 2018), Hasan Kala (20 July 2018), Fahri Mert (12 August 2018), Ahmet Ertürk (16 November 2018), Gökhan Türkmen (7 February 2019), Yasin Ugan (12 February 2019), Özgür Kaya (12 February 2019) Erkan Irmak (16 February 2019), Mustafa Yılmaz (18 February 2019), Salim Zeybek (20 February 2019), Yusuf Bilge Tunç (6 August 2019)