EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/32/94
UA 174/94 "Disappearance" / Fear for safety 3 May 1994
TURKEY Yavuz Y_lmaz, lawyer, aged 40
Kurdish lawyer Yavuz Y_lmaz has "disappeared" after being detained at his office
in Istanbul on 29 April 1994 by eight men in plain clothes. Amnesty
International fears for his safety.
According to office staff, the eight men introduced themselves as members of
the "political police" in Elaz__, eastern Turkey. They took Yavuz Yilmaz to
the Police Headquarters in Istanbul, where he was apparently held for one or
two days before being transferred to the Police Headquarters in Elaz__.
However, when his lawyer, his family and the deputy Remzi Kartal made inquiries,
the authorities denied that Yavuz Y_lmaz was being held.
Yavuz Y_lmaz, who is married with two children, was born in Karakoçan near
Elaz__. He worked in Karakoçan as a lawyer until August 1993. He is a member
of the Contemporary Lawyers' Association and of the Elaz__ Bar. He was president
of the local branch of HEP (People's Labour Party) from the party's foundation
until its closure in July 1993. He then became a member of the party's successor
DEP (Democracy Party), which like HEP is a party defending the rights and
interests of Turkey's Kurdish minority. In August 1991, Yavuz Y_lmaz was
detained for 68 days and reportedly seriously tortured. The State Security
Court in Erzincan then ordered his release.
In August 1993, Yavuz Y_lmaz was summoned to the Police Headquarters in Karakoçan
and allegedly told that he should leave the town or he would be killed, and
that this warning would only be issued once. He left his home town and has
since been living in Istanbul where he set up a lawyer's practice.
The Democracy Party (DEP) is the only legal Kurdish party in Turkey. Six out
of the 18 deputies which represent it in the Grand National Assembly had their
immunity lifted in March 1994 and are currently awaiting trial on sedition
charges which carry the death penalty. More than 60 leading officials and members
of HEP and DEP have been assassinated in the past two years in a wave of killings
which included the murder of parliamentary deputy Mehmet Sincar on 4 September
1993. None of these murders have been solved and the perpetrators punished.
Scores of DEP members have been detained on charges of making separatist
propaganda and supporting the guerrillas of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party
During 1993 and 1994 there has been a striking increase in reports of
"disappearances" - particularly in the southeastern provinces. Procedures laid
down in the Turkish Criminal Procedure Code for the prompt and proper
registration of detainees, and for notification of their families, are almost
universally ignored in the southeastern provinces where a State of Emergency
is in force, and increasingly disregarded in the cities in the rest of Turkey.
Lack of proper registration and notification is not only extremely distressing
for families, but creates conditions which facilitates "disappearances" and
torture. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (ECPT) and the
UN Committee against Torture (UN CAT), both of which are mechanisms of
international human rights instruments to which Turkey is a State Party, have
published reports to the effect that torture is widespread and systematic in