Turkey: Erdogan Regime Abducting Dissidents Inside and Outside of the Country

For years, Erdogan’s regime in Turkey has been abducting suspected dissidents and political opponents inside and outside of the country. One morning in Ankara in 2017, a black van stopped, two men got out and dragged a man into the van and sped off. The incident took just a minute. The man tried to fight them off, but they beat him, put a black hood over his head and shackled his feet.

Since the coup attempt in 2016, disappearances of civilians have been reported, most occurred in Ankara in broad daylight. They follow the same pattern: the victims are pulled into a black van, by people who don’t try to conceal themselves. Subsequent attempts to locate the abducted person are of no use and families report authorities ignore any requests for help.

People who have been abducted are interrogated frequently; beaten, given electric shocks, threatened with rape and warned that they would do the same to their families if they did not cooperate. Many said the interrogators had detailed knowledge about their children and families.

The Turkish government is assumed to be behind the forced disappearances. Many are linked to the movement of the cleric Fethullah Gulen, living in exile in Pennsylvania. The Turkish government claims Gulen orchestrated the coup attempt.

After the failed coup, Erdogan launched a massive purge across Turkey. Around 160,000 people were arrested, including hundreds of journalists, activists, teachers, judges and political opponents. 150,000 were removed from their jobs in the country.

Human rights advocates have called for urgent investigations into the disappearances of the Turkish citizens saying there is reason to believe that the Turkish government is behind the abductions.

The Erdogan Regime gives no details on civilians who have disappeared inside the country. It does publish information about some of the Turkish citizens who have been arrested in other countries and brought back to Turkey by the country’s intelligence service. These operations are known to have taken place in Kosovo, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Gabon and Ukraine.

According to Turkish officials, Turkey has so far brought back 100 people, from 18 countries. According to the families of those abducted, after they are taken to Turkey, many are accused of terrorism and put in prison.



Photo: “no words” by Rasande Tyskar is licensed under CC BY 2.0