Posted on October 8, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Politics
Turkey’s Kurdish BDP politician Hursit Kutler who went missing reemerges in Kirkuk, Oct. 7, 2016. Photo: Firat News ANF
KIRKUK,— Hursit Kutler, an official from the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP), has reemerged in the city of Kirkuk after he was reported missing since May 27 in his hometown of Sirnak, during fierce clashes between the Turkish Army and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).
“On 27 of May when the [Turkish army] operation ended in Sirnak and I could not escape the city, I was arrested by the Turkish security forces. I was kept in a basement for 13 days by the Turkish army. I was tortured both physically and psychologically. They wanted me to spy for them,” Kutler said in a press conference in Kirkuk on Friday, according to Firat News Agency.
Kutler said he was able to set himself free after 13 days, but had to take refuge in Sirnak for another 40 or 45 days, then he stayed with those people “who were conducting resistance [against the operation]”, before making his way to Iraq with the help of “several people”.
Kutler’s is perhaps the only high profile disappearance in Turkey for a decade, and one which alarmed the human rights activists who feared that Turkey may had headed back to an area of forced disappearance experienced in 1990s when hundreds of people, many of whom Kurds in the country’s southeast, went missing.
He held the position of the head of DBP in the district of Sirnak at the time of his disappearance.
During the time he was missing, more than four months, many human rights activists and concerned people raised their voice demanding the Turkish authorities to declare his whereabouts.
Kutler’s photo started to appear in the weekly meetings of the so-called Saturday Mothers, a peaceful sit-in of mothers who demand justice for their lost loves ones. The sit-in’s began in 1995 and have continued ever since.
The Turkish government, under pressure, was forced finally to set an inquiry committee to seek information regarding Kutler’s fate, but made no concrete findings.
He says that although he has been free now for some time he could not make this appearance any time sooner since the conditions were not right for him to talk to the media.