The kidnappings, six of which occurred following the July 15, 2016, coup attempt, displayed many similarities, including the methods used by the kidnappers, and an apparent reluctance by police to pursue investigations despite, in many cases, CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts of the kidnappings. Tanrıkulu, like other observers, emphasized the fact in each incident the perpetrators were driving a black Volkswagen Transporter minibus, raising eerie parallels to the “white Toros” disappearances of Kurdish activists in the Turkish southeast in the 1990s.
Victims’ families have expressed frustration with the progress of investigations into the disappearances. Families say the police have seemed reluctant to collect evidence or, in some cases, to share the evidence they have collected. The wife of Sunay Elmas, who was forced into a black Volkswagen Transporter in Ankara on January 27, claims the police have a video of the abduction but have not responded to her requests to view it. The family of Mustafa Özgür Gültekin, also kidnapped from Ankara in January 2016, collected CCTV footage from the area of his abduction themselves. They say the tapes, which show Gültekin being surrounded outside a market, and then forced into a black Transporter, show the silhouettes of the attackers very clearly, but claim the police have not followed up on this lead. Families of other victims have reported similar problems. The family of former Communication Technology Agency (BTIK) employee Hüseyin Kötüce, kidnapped from the Batıkent metro station parking lot in February 2017, claims that police have not dusted his car, which was parked at the metro station at the time of his abduction, for fingerprints. The family also maintains that footage from surrounding CCTV cameras has not been collected by police.
Some families, frustrated with police inaction, have resorted to collecting evidence on their own. The families of Turgut Çapan, who had been employed at Turgut Özal Üniversitesi, now closed by the government, and former National Intelligence Agency (MIT) employee Mesut Geçer, both kidnapped in March 2017, appealed to a wide range of authorities for help, but claimed they were met with difficulty even in filing statements or making inquiries. These families, like others, have used their own resources to collect footage from CCTV cameras near where their loved ones were abducted, and have collected other information about their cases. Fatma Asan found the car of her husband, former teacher Önder Asan, with one of its tires slashed near where he had been kidnapped in April 2017. The lawyer for the family of former MIT employee Ayhan Oran determined that Oran’s cell phone was active until 4 pm on the day of his November 2016 abduction.
In his parliamentary question, in addition to questions about the fates of the kidnapped and the identities of the perpetrators, CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu asks for more information on the investigations into the disappearances, including license numbers and registration information for the vehicles shown on the CCTV tapes. The inquiry also asks why law enforcement is apparently not conducting an effective investigation despite the existence of CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts. Critically, Tanrıkulu’s question asks whether the combination of the use of the same vehicle in the kidnappings, law enforcement’s reluctance to investigate, and the fact that all victims were subjects of FETÖ/PDY investigations gives the impression that law enforcement or people allied with them may be behind the kidnappings.