Where is Gökhan Güneş?

Left activist Gökhan Güneş was kidnapped by unknown people almost three days ago while he was on his way to work in Istanbul. The kidnapping was captured by a surveillance camera, but the police is doing nothing.

Almost 72 hours have already passed since left activist Gökhan Güneş was abducted by unknown persons in Istanbul. But the police are inactive, although a surveillance camera has captured the kidnapping of the 23-year-old. “There are reasons for this inactivity,” said the relatives of Güneş, who suspect the security forces have actually more than a hand in the kidnapping. “Gökhan has been the victim of an attempted kidnapping by state forces in the past. We believe that they succeeded this time,” said his sister Gülhayat Toraman. The family turned to the human rights organization IHD on Friday with a request for support.

What is known about the kidnapping

Gökhan Güneş works as an electrician. On Wednesday at 12.20 pm he boarded the 79 FY bus in the Ikitelli district to go to his workplace in Başakşehir. After getting off at the “Elementary School Şehit Abdülselam Özatak” stop, four to five people surrounded him and dragged him into one of two waiting cars. Then the vehicles sped away. On the images of a surveillance camera, bystanders can also be seen watching the incident.

Gökhan Güneş’s parents have contacted the police and the Istanbul Anti-Terrorism Center several times since Wednesday to report the kidnapping, but without success. They had been turned away and a complaint from lawyers did not help the family. The recordings from the surveillance camera, which the family was able to obtain on their own initiative and has handed over to the police, “ended up in a drawer”. According to Gülhayat Toraman, a police investigation has now even been initiated into the release of the recordings.

Fear of a return to the ‘90s

“When we look at the footage of Gökhan Güneş’s kidnapping, we wonder whether the dark period of the 1990s is back,” said Gülseren Yoleri, the chairwoman of the Istanbul IHD branch, at a press conference joined also by HDP MPs Musa Piroğlu and Ali Kenanoğlu.

After the military coup of September 1980, Turkey became acquainted with the practice of “enforced disappearance”. In the mid-1990s, when the Turkish state’s dirty war against the PKK was at its highest, disappearances reached their peak. It is estimated that over 17,000 people were “disappeared” by “unknown perpetrators” – that is, by parastate and state forces – during this dark times.