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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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Wife Of Kurdish 'Disappearance' Obtains Justice at European Court

Turkey did not investigate killing of a Kurdish man, rules European Court of Human Rights:


The European Court of Human Rights has once again found that Turkey had violated the European Convention on Human Rights for its failure to investigate the killing of a Kurdish man, Ali Tekdag. [1]

Ali Tekdag was shopping on 13 November 1994 in the village of Kucukkadi. He told his wife that he had to attend to something and asked her not to wait for him for a few moments. He returned shortly afterwards, pretending not to recognise her, told her not to come near him and went into a nearby street. He was being followed by armed men carrying walkie-talkies. Shots were fired and plain-clothes policemen subsequently arrived on the scene and took him away in a white minibus. His wife has heard no news of him since that day and presumes him to be dead.

KHRP submitted the case to the Court on behalf of the deceased's wife, Hatice Tekdag. As the Turkish Government and the applicant did not agree on the facts surrounding the death, three delegates from the Court took evidence at hearings held in Ankara in October 2000.

In its judgment of 15 January 2003, the Court considered all the circumstances of the death and considered that the applicant's statements about her husband's disappearance were consistent. However, in the absence of sufficient corroborating evidence, the Court could not conclude beyond all reasonable doubt that Ali Tekdag had been arrested by plain-clothes policemen, detained and killed by agents of the State or person acting on their behalf.

Nonetheless, the Turkish Government was found to have violated the right to life for its failure to carry out an adequate and effective investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death (Article 2, ECHR).

The Court found that there had been a violation of the right to an effective remedy because the applicant had had an arguable claim under Article 2 that had not been adequately investigated (Article 13, ECHR). Moreover, the Court found that the Government had failed to fulfil its obligation to provide all necessary facilities to the Court in its task of establishing the facts (Article 38, ECHR).

Kerim Yildiz, Executive Director of KHRP, commented, "This is the fourth KHRP case in eight months to establish that Turkey failed to protect the right to life, one of the most sacrosanct of human rights. More than fifty years after its ratification of the ECHR, Turkey must address the underlying causes behind these continuing human rights violations."


[1] The judgment of Tekdag v. Turkey (27699/95), 15 January 2004, European Court of Human Rights Website