Alawmaker from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) on Oct. 20submitted two separate parliamentary questions inquiring about thewhereabouts of a Kurdish man who has been missing since Oct. 14.
Bahtiyar Fırat, a bus driver from Turkey’s Kurdish majority Hakkari province, went missing on Oct. 14 in Istanbul, soon after he was released from police custody at Istanbul Airport. Fırat's disappearance has brought to minds if the era of enforced disappearances has made a comeback in Turkey.
“Bahtiyar Fırat's family has not heard from him since Oct. 14 and is concerned about his life,” HDP deputy Sait Dede said in his parliamentary questions, one addressing Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and the other addressing Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül.
Dede asked the two ministers if they have initiated investigations into the disappearance of Fırat amid concerns that he might have been abducted by National Intelligence Organization (MİT) officers.
Fırattravelled from Hakkari to Istanbul on Oct. 14 to go to Tehran viaIstanbul Airport. After going through passport control, policedetained Fırat to hand him over to MİT officers. However, after awhile, they released Fırat saying “there has been a mistake.” Bythis time, Fırat had already missed his plane to Tehran, as a resultof which he left Istanbul Airport to spend the night at a hotel.
Soon after he left Istanbul Aiport, Fırat called his wife from taxi and told her that he was being followed. Since then, Esra Fırat has not heard from her husband.
The Istanbul prosecutors initially told Esra Fırat that MİT had detained Bahtiyar Fırat and urged her “to be patient.” The prosecutors however later told her that they did not know his whereabouts and the investigation was still ongoing, with camera footages yet to be analyzed.
“Even if my husband committed a crime, they should tell me where he is now and how he is doing. The prosecutor’s office has not released a statement for the past week. We do not know where my husband is right now and how he is doing,” Esra Fırat said on Oct. 19, who came to Istanbul to find about the fate of her husband.
HDP deputy Dede asked Ministers Soylu and Gül why Fırat was detained by airport police at the first place. “Why was Fırat prevented from getting on board the plane; had the prosecutor's office issued a warrant on him? Is there an investigation that you have launched with regards to the Istanbul Airport Police Station?” Dede asked.
Healso asked the two ministers if they will issue a statement withregards to the fate of Bahtiyar, considering that 17,000 people havebeen so far victims of enforced disappearances while under detentionin Turkey.
“Whatis the meaning of the prosecutors' statement said to Bahtiyar Fırat'sfamily that Fırat was detained by MİT and his family should bepatient?” asked Dede.
Thecase of Fırat brings to minds if notorious abductions of the 1990shave made a comeback in present-day Turkey. Hundreds of Kurdishpeople became victims of enforced disappearances in Turkey during1990s, abducted by state agents or people acting with state consentor acquiescence.Claims of enforced disappearances by gov't agents bring to mind dark 1990s, says Turkey's DEVA