A mysterious disappearance: Hursit Kulter issue

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A mysterious disappearance: Hursit Kulter issue

2016-10-12 08:03 BST
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Kurdish politician who allegedly vanished around five months ago turns up in Iraq

The Peoples' Democratic Party's co-chair Selahattin Demirtas showing a picture of Hursit Kulter to the party faithful

A Kurdish politician named Hursit Kulter went missing after he was detained for his alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a militant group which is listed as terrorist by Turkey, the US, the EU and NATO and seeks to impose its Marxist-Leninist ideology on Turkey’s majority-Kurdish southeast.

Some Turkish media portals such as Evrensel, Diken, Demokrat Haber, Birgün and T24 continuously questioned Kulter’s whereabouts. A petition which demanded for an immediate public announcement of his precise location by the Ministry of Interior was signed 17,792 times.

Kulter turned up after 133 days in the city of Kirkuk in Iraq. “I was detained and tortured in the basement of a building for 13 days. Somehow, I made my escape. It took me two months to come here [Iraq],” he said, according to Turkish news portal Diken. The officials whom he claimed to have broken free from belonged to the Special Operations Department of the police.

Some international media outlets also showed interest in Kulter’s disappearance, questioning the Turkish state over the predicament. Authors such as Zia Weise blamed it on Turkey, whose article in Foreign Policy read “Turkey's war against the Kurds continues in the shadows.”

Weise penned another article in Foreign Policy again, after Kulter’s reappearance, where she wrote that his “explanation was too vague to be satisfying.”

Implying the Kulter issue, Sabrina Tavernise accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in her article in the New York Times of adopting “the bad habits of former Turkish leaders he came to power to defeat.”

Chase Winter was yet another correspondent who was concerned with the issue. Her news story on Kulter published in Deutsche Welle (DW) was titled “The return of Turkey’s ‘dirty war’ against the Kurds”. DW deleted the story when Hursit Kulter turned up in Iraq and did not publish a follow up since then.