Murat Okumuş, a 40-year-old accountant who was a manager at the government-closed Şifa University Hospital in Izmir, has been abducted, marking the second forced disappearance in a week.
“MY SON WAS ABDUCTED! I have failed to get a satisfactory answer from the institutions I talked about the issue with. I want to make my voice heard and address the authorities, here,” a Twitter account claiming to belong to his father said on Thursday.
Okumuş was the operations manager at Izmir-based Şifa University Hospital, shuttered over its links to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The movement denies any involvement.
“We haven’t heard from my son Murat Okumuş since 6 pm on June 16, 2017. Born in 1977, he is an accountant and he has two kids from his marriage. … [H]e is a successful and honest family guy,” the Twitter account said.
Okumuş was last seen getting into a Migros food store in Izmir’s Bornova district on the night of June 16, his father said, adding that new details emerged only after his own efforts to investigate the situation.
“Even though we asked all police stations and hospitals, we found no record of him. … As a result of our own search, we found out that an abduction incident had taken place at the same time on the same day. Witnesses confirmed my son’s picture and his clothing. The man abducted back then is, in fact, my son Murat Okumuş,” he added.
“According to the witnesses we reached out to, a group of people from two cars forced my son into one of the cars near the GYM Fitness store, located at 25 8th Street in the Erzene neighborhood.”
One of the cars was a Volkswagen Caddy with a license plate starting with 45, while the other was a Toyota Auris, 20 AK 171, witnesses told the father.
“They told the people they were police. But the witnesses did not believe what they were told and called police to the area. Police examined CCTV recordings and the license plates in question and told the witnesses that the man was taken by their colleagues from the police’s anti-terror department,” the father said.
Father seeks answers
“I demand answers to these questions,” the Twitter account continued.
“Witnesses say that they called the police and told them the licenses plates of the cars. The license plates were recorded too when the witnesses called the police to report the incident. So what is that they are hiding???
“The police dispatched to the area after the call say abductors are from anti-terror department. If they are, why do the police stations [I asked] deny that my son is being kept by the police? If my son is not at a police station, where is he??? WE ARE CONCERNED FOR HIS LIFE!!!
“A man is abducted near the Bornova District Governor’s Office, one of the liveliest places in Izmir. I, as an elderly man, tried to collect evidence. It’s been 6 days that police did not even dare to take video recordings. Isn’t this police’s job???
“I would like my son to be punished if my son did commit a crime. But, it is TURKEY. There are laws, there is a prosecutor, there is a judge and there are courts. Have those mysterious WHITE TOROS of those unlawful 1980s and 1990s made a comeback?”
White Renault Toros cars were common vehicles that the gendarmerie intelligence allegedly used when abducting Kurdish politicians and businessman during ’90s, according to witnesses.
Second abduction in a week
Okumuş’s abduction came only a day after Cemil Koçak, another post-coup victim, was forced into a black van in broad daylight in Turkey’s capital province of Ankara.
Koçak, an engineer who was dismissed from a government position over his alleged links to the Gülen movement, was followed by four cars (a black and a white Ford Focus, a VW Transporter van and a Fiat Doblo) at around 5.30 pm near his home in Ankara’s Altındağ district on June 15, a Twitter account claimed on Saturday.
Mysterious disappearances involving already-victimized opposition groups have become a common occurrence in Turkey in the aftermath of a July 15 coup attempt.
At least 11 cases of alleged abduction including that of Okumuş have been reported so far.
Previously, an engineer, three teachers, a lawyer, a university employee, two intelligence agency officials, an Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTİK) employee and a Competition Authority employee were reported missing, while one of the teachers was handed over by unidentified men to police after spending 42 days out of sight.
All have in common in their personal histories that they have lost their jobs amid a sweeping crackdown that the Turkish government has conducted against its critics, particularly members of the Gülen movement.
In a parliamentary question for Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on April 25, Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu asked why an effective investigation is not being conducted to find these people and who abducted them.
Tanrıkulu also said there is widespread suspicion about the abduction of these people by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT). (Turkey Purge)