Human Rights Association (IHD) Diyarbakir (Amed) Branch and relatives of the disappeared demanded the punishment of those responsible for the murder of Hasan Ergül, who was kidnapped in Silopi in 1995 and then killed in Elazig (Elezîz). His body was thrown into Hazar Lake by state officials.
Forced disappearances were common in Turkey during the 1990s and were used in the country’s war against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). Hundreds of civilians were kidnapped and murdered by JITEM, a special unit of the Turkish gendarmerie charged with “intelligence gathering and counterterrorism”. Many of the victims’ bodies have not been found.
On 23 May 1995, Hasan Ergül was returning from the hospital with his five-year-old son, in the Silopi district of the southeastern province of Şırnak (Şirnex). He was kidnapped by people in plain clothes and was never heard from again.
İHD Diyarbakır Branch Executive Board Member Gurbet Yavuz read the statement regarding the disappearance of Ergül and demanded the perpetrators be punished, the Mesopotamia News Agency reported.
Stating that Ergül’s family applied to all the official authorities but could not get any results, Yavuz noted that Abdülkadir Aygan, a JITEM member, confessed the murder of Ergül in the Özgür Gündem newspaper dated 11 March 2004.
According to Aygan’s statements, after Ergül was killed, his body was thrown into Hazar Lake in the Sivrice district of Elazig. On 8 July 1995 his body was taken out of the lake in a suitcase and buried in Elazig Orphanage Cemetery. After these statements, the Ergül family applied to the prosecutor’s office. The cemetery was opened and the body was taken out. Fırat University Forensic Medicine Department issued a report on 25 May 2009, confirming it was Ergül’s body, which was buried later that year in Silopi.
Aygan and the witnesses pointed to the village guard Koçero Saluci and Cizre District Gendarmerie Commander Colonel Cemal Temizöz as the murderers of Ergül. Temizöz, who was charged with 20 murders in Cizre, faced nine life sentence. However, he was released from Silivri Prison on 12 September 2014. In a later case, held on 5 November 2015, eight defendants, including Temizöz and former Cizre Mayor Kamil Atak, were acquitted. The court ruled their release on the grounds that there is no evidence other than Aygan’s allegations that Temizöz and Saluci killed Ergül.