Turkish rights groups call on authorities to abolish units responsible for abductions

Four rights organisations and lawyers said on Wednesday that certain units within Turkish state security organisations were likely to be responsible for abduction incidents, and called on the authorities to take the appropriate action against them, Mezopotamya News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The rights groups organised a joint press conference after families of four men, who went missing along with two others in February, were informed by the authorities on Sunday that their relatives were being held by the Ankara police department’s anti-terror department.

All six men were among public servants sacked from their jobs over links to Gülen religious movement, which Turkey accuses of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016.

The police said the four men had been detained during a routine security check in Ankara on Sunday.

But the authorities have given no indication of where the men were during the five previous months.

In a joint declaration, four civil society organisations – the Human Right Association, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Ankara Chamber of Medicine, and Rights Initiative – said that the authorities were neglecting their responsibility to effectively investigate human rights violations and bring those responsible to justice.

“The only thing that comes to our minds in relation to that incident is that a special unit within the state is carrying out those abductions and that everybody is staying silent about these practices. We do not want a new report on extra-judicial practices. Turkey has to abolish those special units,” the statement said.

The rights groups said the police had allowed only one member of each family to visit the detainees, while the lawyers had still not been permitted to visit their clients. The police had denied all knowledge on the two other men who were still missing, they said.

Kerem Altıparmak, an academic and a human rights advocate, said that the police’s treatment of the four detainees had raised suspicions of a coverup of serious misconduct. He said that the families had filed a complaint immediately after those people had gone missing, but they had not been provided with any information about the progress of the investigation.

Altıparmak said the police had told the families that the detainees did not want lawyers. “Now why would a person who has been missing for six months decline to be represented by a lawyer. There is no reasonable explanation for that,” he said.

Neither the lawyers nor the families had information whether the detainees had undergone medical checks, Altıparmak said.

Emir Seydi Kaya, the lawyer of one of the detainees, said that the prosecutors had denied responsibility for investigating whether the detainees had been tortured and had declined the lawyers’ demand for detainees to be checked by independent experts.


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