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Police inform family that man abducted 133 days ago is in custody

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Ümit Horzum, a former civil servant who was removed from his job at the Turkish Accreditation Agency (TURKAK) by a decree issued last year during a post-coup state of emergency, appeared at a police station 133 days after he was abducted from his car in Ankara.

“Thank god! My husband Ümit was found. I have waited 133 days and nights to receive this information. I felt my heart stop when I first heard that. I couldn’t wait for my children to wake up, so I woke them up and told them the good news,” his wife said in a series of tweets from the Horzum Ailesi (Horzum family) Twitter account on Tuesday.

She also tweeted that although the police told her to come to the police station for her husband, neither she nor a lawyer was allowed to meet with him.

She tweeted in December 2017: “I haven’t heard from my husband Ümit Horzum since Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017, 6 pm. … Following media reports on tortured detainees, my husband was scared, and he left home to hide. … A short while after leaving, the gendarmerie came to our house to detain him. … He had not stayed at home since then. A few days ago one of his friends dropped by to say his car was stopped and that he was abducted. [His friend] left without answering any further questions.”

“For an entire week, I have been frequenting every hospital, police station, courtroom and gendarmerie station to find my husband. … The gendarmerie sergeant told me: ‘Stop trying to find him. He is a [terror] group leader who is going to be sentenced to … prison. He is … no good for you’,” she said.

“Some officials say: ‘The government has probably taken him,’ backing up their assumptions with journalist Cem Küçük’s remarks on TV. … I am a mother of two, my children are constantly crying for their father.”

Pro-government columnist and TV commentator Küçük, a staunch supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, suggested during a live TV program that Turkish intelligence should kill family members of jailed followers of the faith-based Gülen movement in order to turn the inmates into operatives for the Erdoğan regime.

11 people reported abducted since 2016 failed coup

Mysterious disappearances involving already-victimized opposition groups have become a common occurrence in Turkey in the aftermath of a July 15, 2016 coup attempt, which Erdoğan and ruling the Justice and Development Party (AKP) accuse the Gülen movement of masterminding. The movement strongly denies any involvement.

At least 11 people are alleged to have been abducted thus far. Three teachers, a lawyer, a university employee, two intelligence agency officials, an Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTİK) employee and a Competition Authority employee have been reported missing, while one of the teachers was handed over by unidentified men to police after dropping out of sight for 42 days. Also, an Ankara man named Sunay Elmas is reported to have been abducted, but this particular case took place on Jan. 27, 2016.

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