Bones of boy lost in custody found after 18 years

Bones of boy lost in custody found after 18 years

ANKARA – Radikal
Bones of boy lost in custody found after 18 years

Skulls and bones were found in a well in Mardin last year. DHA photo

A report from Istanbul’s Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) has revealed that bones which were discovered in a Mardin village last year belong to 14-year-old Seyhan Doğan, who went missing in 1995.

The boy’s parents had long searched for their son’s remains, but passed away before he could be found.

The ATK’s report, which was sent to the Dargeçit Public Prosecutor’s Office, clarified that some of the bones excavated from the Bağözü village located in the eastern province in February 2012 belonged to Seyhan Doğan, who was detained in 1995 and was never heard from again.

His parents had searched for their child for years, and Doğan’s mother, Asiye Doğan, had become a prominent figure in the “Cumartesi Anneleri (Saturday Mothers) movement, which has been holding sit-in protests every Saturday at Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square to raise awareness and determine the fate of loved ones who have disappeared since the Sept. 12, 1980 coup.

After the death of Asiye Doğan, the boy’s father, Ramazan Doğan, continued the search and legal struggle to find their son until 2010, when he died of a heart attack.

Seyhan Doğan, together with eight other people, including his 11-year-old brother Hazni Doğan, were detained in Dargeçit in 1995 on allegations of helping the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Hazni Doğan and another person detained were released, but the seven others were never heard from again. The investigation into the seven disappeared was closed after authorities stated that they had joined the PKK.

The early and mid-1990s saw the fiercest clashes between the PKK and the Turkish military forces, mostly in the eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey. Deaths and kidnapping cases were common on both sides, while many people disappeared while under custody.

The Dargeçit Public Prosecutor’s Office once again opened the case following appeals from the families of the disappeared and conducted excavations in Bağözü with the help of the families and the Mardin branch of the Human Rights Foundation (İHD).

Skulls and bones found in a well were sent to the ATK in Istanbul, which determined that some of the remains belonged to 19-year-old Mehmet Emin Arslan, who was one of the missing seven, as well as Seyhan Doğan.

The Mardin branch of İHD confirmed that some of the bones found in the well belonged to the 14-year-old and that the remains would be delivered to his surviving family.

“The 1993-1996 era was a dark period for Mardin, just like in all of the Kurdish region, and it is [publicly known] that 52 civilians disappeared while in custody,” read a statement by the Mardin İHD, adding that the bones found in Dargeçit and during other excavations were proof that execution without due process and making people disappear were state practices. “We are after the traces of the four civilians we could not track until today.”