Document - Turkey: Possible "disappearance" / fear for safety: Osman Kundes
EXTERNAL (for general distribution)AI Index: EUR 44/32/95
UA 38/95 Possible "disappearance" / Fear for safety15 February 1995
TURKEYOsman Kündeş, Kurdish trade unionist, father of six
There is grave concern for the safety of Osman Kündeş, who has not been seen or heard of since 6 February 1995 when he was abducted in front of his house in Batman, southeast Turkey. He is the President of the Municipality Workers' Union's (Belediye-İş Sendikası) branch in Batman.
At 4.30pm on 6 February, Osman Kündeş came home from his office in his trade union car. His 16-year-old son saw him arrive and went outside to greet his father. The son then witnessed two men aged between 20 and 25 approach his father and ask him to come with them on some urgent business. Osman Kündeş told them that he was hungry and would prefer to talk after the evening meal or the following day, but they insisted that it was urgent. So Osman Kündeş asked his son to come with them. The son went briefly inside the house to get his coat, but minutes later, when he came back outside, his father and the two men had gone.
A woman who had observed the scene, later said that she saw Osman Kündeş sitting in the front passenger seat of his trade union car, while one of the men drove and the other sat in the back. A second car was following. The trade union car was found abandoned the following day about 70 kilometres away on the road between Batman and Kozluk.
The family's inquiries with the authorities for information about Osman Kündeş's whereabouts have so far been unsuccessful.
The conflict in southeast Turkey between government forces and guerrillas of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) has claimed more than 14,000 lives since it began in August 1984. Police operations against suspected PKK supporters and other Kurdish activists are being carried out all over Turkey. A state of emergency remains in force in 10 provinces in the east and southeast including Batman.
Any person suspected of supporting the PKK is at serious risk of torture, "disappearance" or extrajudicial execution. In 1994 there were more than 50 reported "disappearances", and more than 400 people were killed in unclarified circumstances. In most cases the victims were shot by unidentified assailants in the streets of cities in the southeast such as Batman, where a member of parliament was shot in 1993. Relatives believe that they have been killed for political reasons by agents of the state. Reports indicate that eight people became victims of unclarified murders in Batman in January 1995.
In February 1993, a cross-party parliamentary commission was established to investigate these "murders by unknown persons", but two years later, when the total death toll has risen to well over 1,200, the commission has still not submitted a final report nor proposed any concrete measures to put a halt to the murders.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams, express and airmail letters in English or your own language:
- expressing grave concern for the safety of trade unionist Osman Kündeş, who was abducted by two men in front of his house in Batman on 6 February and whose car was found abandoned the next day on the road to Kozluk;
- urging that all possible steps be taken as a matter of urgency in order to establish the whereabouts of Osman Kündeş;
- requesting to be informed when Osman Kündeş has been found.
Please bring this action to the attention of trade unionists.
1) Chief of Police in Batman:
Mr Azmi Derin
Batman Emniyet Müdürlüğü
Telegrams: Emniyet Mudurlugu, Batman, Turkey
Salutation: Dear Sir
2) Batman Chief Public Prosecutor:
Batman C. Başsavcılığı
Telegrams: Cumhuriyet Bassavciligi, Batman, Turkey
Salutation: Dear Sir
3) Minister of Labour and Social Security:
Mr Nihat Matkap
Çalışma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanlığı
06100 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Minister Matkap, Calisma Bakanligi, Ankara, Turkey
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
President of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission:
Mr Sabri Yavuz
İnsan Hakları Araştırma Komisyonu Başkanı
Faxes: +90 312 420 5394
and to diplomatic representatives of Turkey accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 29 March 1995.