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BRITAIN’S first-ever female Kurdish MP Feryal Clark has called for urgent action over the disappearance of Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) supporter Gokhan Gunes.
Ms Clarke, who was elected as Labour MP for Enfield North in December 2019, is urging Amnesty International to investigate the whereabouts of Mr Gunes, who has been missing since Wednesday.
The ESP activist was last seen on CCTV footage being bundled into the back of a police vehicle after attending a hospital appointment in Istanbul.
In a statement Ms Clark said: “It’s extremely concerning to hear about further forced disappearance of political activists in Turkey: the latest, Mr Gokhan Gunes.
“The past year has seen the Turkish state cracking down on opposition politicians and political activists. Amnesty must investigate this ongoing situation.”
Turkish and Kurdish community group Gik-Der is the main signatory of a letter calling on Amnesty to take urgent action and raise the case of Mr Gunes’s disappearance. The human-rights group has been contacted for comment but has so far not responded.
In May 2019 its offices were occupied by Kurdish activists, who accused Amnesty of ignoring the plight of hunger strikers in Turkish prisons. Amnesty was forced to apologise after it called police, who violently removed the activists, triggering a backlash from supporters.
Fears have intensified over the safety of Mr Gunes, with police in Istanbul denying they are holding him. The ESP warned that prior to his detention he had been asked to become a spy, which the construction worker refused to do.
On Saturday the municipal workers who gave the CCTV footage to Mr Gunes’s family were detained and an investigation opened.
His sister Gulhayat Gunes said that Istanbul police informed her that he would be returned soon.
Speaking on Saturday she said: “When I told the police chief to find my brother, he did not say I would find Gokhan. ‘I will deliver him to you as soon as possible,’ he said. This shows that Gokhan is in his hands.
“We will not stop until my brother is found, we will not stop until we are informed. They will not be able to intimidate us in any way. I want everyone to give a voice to our voices, to find my brother,” she said.
Ms Clark will speak at a meeting organised by the Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign on Zoom on Wednesday at 7pm GMT alongside HDP MP for Izmir Murat Cepni and members of the ESP.
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