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UA 287/94 - Turkey: "disappearance" / arbitrary detention: "Disappeared": Zeki Ercan Diril, Ilyas Edip Diril; Arbitrarily detained (four families): Simoni Diril, Kamal Diril, Leyla Diril and nine children, Ishak Diril, Yusuf Diril, Sero Diril, Semira Diri

, Index number: EUR 44/074/1994

There is concern at the "disappearance" of two brothers, Zeki Ercan Diril and Ilyas Edip Diril, after they were detained by security forces on 19 May 1994 while travelling to their village of Kovankaya, Hakkari province. On or about 4 June 1994 Kovankaya, an Assyro-Chaldean Catholic village, was burned and the villagers, some of whom were beaten, were forcibly evicted to the village of Cevizagac near the town of Beytussebab. Hurmuz Diril, an elder of the village, who tried to make inquiries about the two brothers and to complain about the eviction was arrested and is now held in Beytussebab prison. Forty members of the Diril family are now being held under house arrest in Cevizagac although they have not been charged with any offence and the reason for their detention is unclear. While they have not reported ill-treatment, food is reportedly in short supply and there is concern for their health.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/74/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 287/94 "Disappearance"/Arbitrary Detention 1 August 1994
TURKEY "Disappeared":
Zeki Ercan Diril )
_lyas Edip Diril ) brothers
Arbitrarily Detained:
Four Families -
Simoni Diril
Kamal Diril
Leyla Diril (f)
and nine children
_shak Diril
Yusuf Diril
Sero Diril
Semira Diril (f)
and five children
Epro Diril
Meryam Diril (f)
Zeki Diril
and eight children
Nasih Diril
Kitan Diril
and six children
Amnesty International is concerned about the "disappearance" of Zeki Ercan
Diril and _lyas Edip Diril on 19 May 1994. The two brothers "disappeared" after
being taken into custody by security forces in the town of Uzungeçit, on the
road to their village of Kovankaya, in Hakkari province.
Zeki Ercan Diril and _lyas Edip Diril had spent approximately six months working
in Istanbul before setting out to return to Kovankaya on 15 May 1994. They
arrived at Uzungeçit, where they halted because the road to the village was
mined. According to an account given by two inhabitants of the village who
came to meet them (whose names are withheld for their own safety), the Diril
brothers were detained by local village guards and handed over to gendarmes
from Uludere, the nearest large town. The witnesses report that they themselves
were detained by security forces, beaten and forced to spend a whole night
in a stream before they were released.
Kovankaya (local name: Mehri), 30 km from Beytü__ebab in Hakkari province,
was an Assyro-Chaldean Catholic village (see Background Information). In 1990,
the village was burned to the ground by security forces because the inhabitants
had refused to join the village guard corps (villagers armed and paid by the
government to fight guerrillas of the Kurdish Workers' Party - PKK). The
villagers fled to Istanbul, but returned in 1992 and rebuilt some of their
On or about June 4 1994 the village of Kovankaya was burned and forcibly evicted
by the gendarmerie once again. The villagers, some of whom were beaten during
eviction, moved to the village of Çeviza_aç (Geznah), 3 km distance from
Beytü__ebab, where another Assyro-Chaldean Catholic family lives. Hurmuz Diril,
an elder of the village, went to Beytü__ebab to complain about the eviction
and to make inquiries about the "disappearance" of the two young men. He was
arrested and is now held in Beytü__ebab prison on charges of assisting the
Forty members of the Diril family, who are now living in and around one house
in the village of Ceviza_aç, wish to return to Istanbul, but are forbidden
from leaving Beytü__ebab. They have not been charged with any offence, and
the reason for their detention is not clear. The four families held in Çeviza_aç,
have not reported ill-treatment but food is reportedly in short supply.
Such arbitrary detention without judicial supervision, proper registration,
or health and nutrition arrangements contravenes Article 5 of the European
Convention on Human Rights, and could endanger the health of the villagers,
particularly their children. It also increases the risk of "disappearance"
- during 1993 more than 30 people "disappeared", many of them during the course
of forcible evacuation of villages.
In late July the father of the two "disappeared" brothers was advised to speak
to the gendarmerie commander in Beytü__ebab. When he went there, the commander
reportedly said, "Go to __rnak and ask there for news of the boys. I can arrange
to help you go there". However, the father decided that it would not be safe
to make the 100 km journey alone.
Amnesty International has received information concerning three other incidents
in which villagers trying to flee after the destruction of their homes have
been held in containment areas (see UA 286/94, 22 July 1994, AI Index: EUR
44/66/94). While not confined to a building or barbed-wire enclosure, the
villagers are turned back by force if they attempt to move out of the area.
In a containment area in Diyarbak_r province, now empty, there were reports
of ill-treatment, torture and extrajudicial execution.
The four families mentioned above, and one other family in Ceviza_aç, are the
last remaining representatives of the Assyro-Chaldean Catholic community which
before the armed conflict began, numbered more than 5,000. All the others have
migrated to Istanbul or to Europe.
Ten provinces in southeast Turkey have been under emergency legislation as
a result of the fierce conflict between government forces and guerrillas of
the PKK, which has claimed more than 12,000 lives on both sides and among
civilians since 1984 when the PKK began making attacks. Since 1990 hundreds
of villages have been burned and forcibly evicted during security raids on
settlements which refuse to participate in the village guard militia. Membership
of the village guards, a civil defence force organized and paid by the government
to fight PKK guerrillas, is theoretically voluntary, but villagers, in
particular the small number of Christian communities, are effectively caught
between two fires. Many are reluctant to serve as village guards for fear of
reprisals from the guerrillas. Those who refuse, however, are subject to
reprisals from the security forces or village guards from neighbouring villages
who accuse them of actively or passively supporting the guerrillas.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
- urging that a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation be conducted into
the "disappearance" of Zeki Ercan Diril and _lyas Edip Diril following their
arrest on 19 May 1994 by security forces in the town of Uzungeçit, Hakkari
- expressing concern about the detention of the four families including 28
children from Kovankaya in Hakkari province, who are now being held in
- urging that the villagers be permitted to leave, unless charged with criminal
- seeking assurances that such large-scale and arbitrary detentions will cease
1) Chief of the Turkish General Staff:
General Do_an Güre_
Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: General Güres, Bakanliklar, Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: +90 312 418 1795
Salutation: Dear General Güre_
2) Minister of the Interior:
Mr Nahit Mente_e
Içisleri Bakanl___
Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: +90 312 428 4346
Salutation: Dear Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs:
Prof Mümtaz Soysal
D__i_leri Bakanl___
06100 Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: +90 312 287 1886
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 12 September 1994.

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