Four of the six people who have been abducted in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara since February have been found — in the custody of the country’s counter-terrorism police.
For more than four months relatives of Gokhan Turkmen, Yasin Ugan, Ozgur Kaya, Ertan Irmak, Mustafa Yilmaz, and Salim Zeybek have been trying to find the six abductees’ whereabouts with reportedly no assistance from state officials.
Family members reported on social media in the early hours of Monday morning that Kaya, Zeybek, Ugan, and Irmak were found, being detained by counter-terrorism (TEM) police in Ankara.
The abductees, who were sought in investigations into the Gulen movement, were claimed by many as being victims of politically-motivated, enforced disappearances.
“I’ve got the news that my husband Ozgur Kaya was detained ten minutes ago,” Kaya’s wife said on Twitter at 1.14 a.m. local time on Monday.
Esim özgür Kaya 10 dakika önce gözaltına alındığı haberi ggeldi
— Özgür Kaya (@sakindokunma) July 28, 2019
“I’ve just received a call from the Ankara TEM (police). They said my husband is at Ankara TEM and that he is in good health,” Zeybek’s wife stated at around 1.30 a.m.
Az önce Ankara TEM'den aradılar. Eşimin Ankara TEM'de olduğunu ve sağlığının iyi olduğunu söylediler. Ailecek çok heyecanlandık şu an heyecandan yazamıyorum. Gelişmeleri duyurucam. @gergerliogluof @MSTanrikulu
— Salim Zeybek (@SalimAzeybek) July 28, 2019
Yasin Ugan’s brother Mikail also indicated in a tweet that Ugan, who has been missing since February 13, was detained by police in the Turkish capital.
Biraz önce TEM den bir polis memuru aradı ve 13 Şubattan beri kayıp olan kardeşimin ellerinde olduğunu söyledi.Rabbime şükürler olsun.
— Mikail UGAN (@mikail_ugan) July 28, 2019
“Thank God I’ve learned that my husband was at the police department. I’ll keep you posted about the developments on the issue,” Irmak’s wife said on Twitter soon afterward.
Çok şükür eşimin Emniyette olduğu bilgisi geldi. Gelişmelerden haberdar edeceğim
— Erkan Irmak (@erkannirmak) July 28, 2019
The Turkish government designates Gulen movement, led by self-exiled US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, as a terrorist organization.
Gulen and his followers are also accused by Ankara of masterminding the failed military coup attempt that targeted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) government on July 15, 2016.
Both Gulen and members of his movement strongly deny any coup-related allegations and involvement in terror activity.
However, Erdogan’s government has launched a massive crackdown targeting the group under the pretext of an anti-coup fight since July 2016.
According to the data of the Interior Ministry, the Turkish government has detained or arrested almost 80,000 people while prosecuting more than 511,000 over their alleged links to the movement since the coup attempt.
Over Faruk Gergerlioglu, a pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker, last month voiced the claim that the forced disappearances are politically-motivated and the abductees were being severely tortured.
“The families of the abductees are in front of Ankara Police Department now. The first statement by police there is that they have been taken into custody due to the random screening they ran into while they walk. The last night they told the families that there was a raid,” tweeted Gergerlioglu, pointing out to the contradictory statements.
Kacirilanların aileleri, avukatları Ankara Emniyetinin önünde su an
Emniyet onundeki bir polisin ilk acılaması;yürüyerek gelen kişilerin gbtye takılarak gözaltına alındığı yonunde!
Dün gece ailelere operasyon denmişti.!
— Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu (@gergerliogluof) July 29, 2019
Emphasizing that the Ministry of the Interior had not made any statements regarding the missing people or the claims of torture even after his parliamentary questions, the MP said: “Given this silence, what comes to mind?”
Referring to Erdogan’s remarks that Turkey has “zero tolerance toward torture,” the lawmaker further argued that there are wide-spread, systematic and increasing incidents of torture across the country.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s largest opposition party, spoke about the issue during his Republican People’s Party (CHP)’s group meeting on July 16, alleging that abduction of the six men was politically-motivated and that they have the right to a fair trial.