The Temizöz case continues

The “Colonel Temizöz et al.” case continues in Diyarbakır. Through the organization of TESEV, we attended the hearing on 19 October for the case of six people being judged for the disappearance and killing of 20 people in Şırnak between 1993 and 1995.

At this hearing, Senior Master Sergeant Tufan Aras—who served at the Silopi Yankale Border Station during the 1993-95 era—gave testimony about the disappearance of Abdulla Efelti. It is claimed that in 1995, two vehicles came to the village of Bostancı, took Efelti by force, and made him disappear. The witness Aras claimed that he didn’t remember much about the event, and that because his job was much more concerned with smuggling, he was not informed about what transpired in the village. Aras’ two conflicting statements drew attention.

Present at the hearing were suspects in custody Kamil Atağ, Abdulhakim Güven, and Adem Yakin, as well as Tamer Atağ, who is being tried without arrest. However, two of the suspects in custody, Cemal Temizöz and Hıdır Altuğ, did not attend. Most of the relatives of the disappeared who came from Cizre to attend the trial were women. Remarkably, they filled up most of the courtroom.

The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor wants the suspects to be punished for crimes such as “killing another person,” “establishing a criminal organization for the purposes of committing a crime,” and “instigating the killing of another person.” The punishments being demanded for the suspects range from 9 life sentences for Cemal Temizöz, 7 for Kamil Atağ, 2 for Tamer Atağ, 7 for Adem Yakin, 3 for Hıdır Altuğ, 6 for Fırat Altın, and 1 for Kukel Atağ. It is alleged that under the direction of Temizöz, a group composed of village guards, confessors, and soldiers took many people into illegal custody under the assertion that they were connected to the PKK and interrogated these people using methods of torture, after which the group killed them.

According to Human Rights Watch, which stated that the “Temizöz et al.” case presents an important opportunity in terms of overcoming impunity, “Temizöz is the most senior member of the Turkish military ever to stand trial specifically for gross violations of human rights committed in the course of the conflict between the Turkish armed forces and the PKK.”