EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/143/94
EXTRA 70/94 Possible "disappearance" / Fear for safety 30 November 1994
TURKEY _brahim Bahattin Karakütük, journalist, aged 29
There is grave concern for the safety of _brahim Bahattin Karakütük, the foreign
affairs correspondent of the Kurdish-owned daily Özgür Ülke (Free Country).
He left the newspaper's offices in Ankara at 1pm on 29 November 1994 to go
the Russian Embassy where he was to conduct an interview. He reportedly left
the embassy at about 3pm on foot and has not been seen or heard of since. It
is feared that he has been abducted by members of the security forces and that
he may be extrajudicially executed.
_brahim Bahattin Karakütük told colleagues at the Ankara office that a few
days ago unidentified persons had followed him in quite an obvious manner to
his house in Kavakl_dere. He had apparently also been followed on previous
The Anti-Terror Branch of Ankara Police Headquarters denied holding him when
asked by the President of the parliamentary Human Rights Commission, Sabri
Yavuz. All other attempts to establish his whereabouts have so far been
_brahim Bahattin Karakütük has been foreign affairs correspondent for Özgür
Gündem during the paper's two years of existence and, since it ceased publication
in May 1994, for its successor Özgür Ülke. Reportedly, he has had professional
contacts with the Russian Embassy on numerous occasions.
Kurdish-owned Özgür Gündem and Özgür Ülke have been the only newspapers in
Turkey which consistently reported human rights violations from the
predominantly Kurdish provinces in the east and in the southeast where a State
of Emergency is in force and where the security forces are pursuing a policy
of "total conflict" against guerrillas of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).
Nine of their correspondents and 11 people distributing and selling the
newspaper have been murdered under circumstances suggesting security forces
involvement and one female staff journalist has "disappeared" in Istanbul.
Scores of its editors and other staff have been detained and tortured, many
of them are still in prison and on trial or awaiting trial.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English or in your own language:
- expressing grave concern for the safety of Özgür Ülke journalist _brahim
Bahattin Karakütük who has not been seen since 29 November 1994 and is feared
to have "disappeared" in Ankara;
- urging that immediate steps are taken to establish his present whereabouts
and state of health;
- asking to be informed of the results of this investigation.
1) Deputy Prime Minister:
Mr Murat Karayalçin
06573 Ankara, Turkey