Gokhan Gunes, a member of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) in Turkey has been missing since 20 January 2021. The disappearance of Gunes, a left wing activist, has brought to the fore the increase in disappearances in Turkey and there is now a widespread call for accountability as to the whereabouts of Gunes.
Video footage shows that four people surrounded Gunes on his way to work in Istanbul and dragged him into a waiting car. The footage of the abduction was captured by a surveillance camera which the family were able to obtain by their own initiative. Gunes’ family have contacted the police but the authorities have so far denied that he is being held in custody and have launched an investigation into the person that passed the surveillance footage to the family.
Gunes’ family strongly believes that the unknown perpetrators are from state forces since Gokhan has been subjected to threats and harassment and an attempted kidnapping by them in the past. According to the report by the Morning Star newspaper, an ESP spokesperson, Cengiz Fidan said that one of the methods used by the state to stop socialists is through forced disappearances and pressure to become a state agent. Meanwhile police have also arrested 12 people who were protesting the abduction of Gokhan Gunes.
Feryal Clark, Labour MP for Enfield North, also commented on the kidnapping of Gunes on her Twitter account. “It’s extremely concerning to hear about further forced disappearance of political activist in Turkey, the latest Mr Gokhan Gunes.” said Clark and called on Amnesty International for an investigation to determine the whereabouts of Gokhan Gunes.
SPOT calls for solidarity against these increasing attacks on the members of progressive forces in Turkey and for accountability for Gokhan Gunes and all enforced disappearances.