Police raid kills 10 in Turkey

August 21, 1991

A German delegation visited Istanbul in mid-July to investigate the deaths of 10 people in a police raid on July 12. The visit was in response to information from relatives of the victims as well as Amnesty International and the Turkish Association for Justice and Freedom (OZGUR DER), which was closed down by police on July 14.

The delegation also sought information on the whereabouts of another 25 people not heard of since they were arrested in the raid. Police have refused to release the names of the 25, believed to be held at a police headquarters where former prisoners say systematic torture is practised.

There is concern for another 70 people who have not been seen since leaving their villages to attend funerals for the victims. Journalists say Istanbul police tried to arrest anyone attending the funerals.

It is feared Turkish police are training and using Latin American-style death squads and carrying out shoot-to-kill operations similar to those of British forces in northern Ireland.

The six-member delegation, consisting of journalists, human rights activists and lawyers, established that nine of the dead had been professional people who would have been unlikely to resist arrest. The other was Ibrahim Erdogan, a member of an illegal leftist organisation, Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left). He was sought by police after escaping from prison last year. He had been held, under sentence of death, for 10 years.

Autopsies on Erdogan and another victim showed that they had been shot, execution-style, in the head and heart at close range.

Police would not admit the delegation to the building where the killings occurred. Surrounding buildings bore no evidence of the 90-minute gun battle police say took place. Representatives of the police and the state security court refused to meet with the delegation.

Supporters of OZGUR DER are asking that requests for information about the 25 be sent to President Turgut Ozal, Cumburbaskanligi Kosku-Cankaya, Ankara, Turkey.

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