Street abductions of Turkish students raise rogue security fears

The surge in abductions and death threats against Turkish citizens by individuals claiming they are state officials is raising concerns about the safety of citizens in the country, Arab News reported on Wednesday.

Three university students were kidnapped from a busy street in capital Ankara in what was considered a warning against participants against the appointment of a government-linked rector at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, it said.

The incident took place last week, when the three students were picked up as they left their homes by people claiming to be police for regular criminal record checks. The students say they were physically assaulted and threatened before being dropped off at various locations in the city, T24 news site reported.

A number of abductions have taken place at the hands of those claiming to be “state officials” for the purpose of criminal record checks, Arab News said, with the so-called officials claiming they will be following the victims “wherever they go.’’

Last year, Human Rights Watch issued a report on disappearances in Turkey, urging authoritiesto urgently investigate credible testimonies of those who have disappeared during pre-trial detention. The report focused on over a dozen people, who had been abducted by government agents for many months.

The president of the Human Rights Association (IHD) told Arab News that the abduction trend had been on the rise since the failed coup attempt of July 2016.

“We have held several meetings with the Interior Ministry and the parliamentary commissions about our findings, and we expect an effective investigation to be launched,” Özturk Türkdoğan said, noting that he increasing trend of abductions showed the “state has lost its control on this structure.’’

Turkey saw an increase in civil disappearances after the failed coup attempt, with victims being abducted in broad daylight and forced into commercial vehicles. Most of the abductions targeted supposed followers Fethullah Gülen, a U.S. based cleric who Ankara accuses of orchestrating the failed putsch.

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