Twenty-eight members of the European Parliament sent a letter on Monday to Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi and Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj on the illegal abduction and controversial deportation of six Turkish nationals at the request of the Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and urged them to fully respect all judicial procedures in line with European principles and standards.
The letter signed by MEPs Igor Šoltes, Rebecca Harms, Lucy Anderson, Petras Austrevicius, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Nessa Childers, Kostas Chrysogonos, Tanja Fajon, Luke Ming Flanagan, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Wajid Khan, Merja Kyllönen, Patricia Lalonde, Monica Macovei, Lukas Mandl, Martina Michels, Tonino Picula, Georgi Pirinski, Sofia Sakorafa, Judith Sargentini, Jordi Solé, Barbara Spinelli, Ruža Tomašić, Helga Trüpel, Ivo Vajgl, Bodil Valero, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Julie Ward and Thomas Waitz states that all actions taken by local Kosovar authorities must be in full respect of the rule of law and promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Underlining that the arbitrary procedures concerning arrest, detention or extradition are in violation of these principles, the MEPs stated, “We trust in Kosovo’s authorities to keep up a strong stance on human rights and the rule of law and that it will withstand the pressure Turkey is systematically exerting.”
A Turkish court on Wednesday arrested six people who were abducted in Kosovo and brought back to Turkey by its notorious National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.
The six Turkish nationals, educators Cihan Özkan, Kahraman Demirez, Hasan Hüseyin Günakan, Mustafa Erdem and Yusuf Karabina, who were working for a group of schools affiliated with the Gülen movement in Kosovo, along with Dr. Osman Karakaya, were abducted from Kosovo on March 29 at the order of the Turkish government.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in late March 2018 exposed the details of torture cases in Turkey last year and called on the Turkish government to enforce its proclaimed policy of zero tolerance for torture.
So far, a number of countries have handed over academics, businessmen and school principals upon the Turkish government’s request despite the fact that some of those victims already had refugee status with the United Nations. Among them are Saudi Arabia (16 people), Malaysia (7 people), Pakistan (4 people), Sudan (1 person), Qatar (45 people), Kosovo (6 people), Kazakhstan (1 person) and Myanmar (1 person).
The full text of the MEPs’ letter is as follows:
“His Excellency Hashim Thaçi President of Kosovo,
His Excellency Ramush Haradinaj Prime Minister of Kosovo,
At the beginning of April we were alerted of the case of six Turkish citizens who had been detained in Kosovo and were deported to Turkey due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Their residence permits have been cancelled without any legal procedure and they have been deported without any trial or any contact with their lawyers in violation of the principle of rule of law. We strongly criticise these grave events.
We were again alerted by Turkish President Erdogan’s announcement that more people will be extradited from Kosovo to Turkey. As Kosovo is part of the accession process it should align with European standards. The rule of law is a fundamental principle of the European Union. We are concerned that it has been completely forgotten that countries are morally and legally bound to respect international conventions and protocols, which were laid down to protect basic human dignity and have been upheld over the centuries by our civilization. We should strive for an inclusive society rather than one that extradites people on the basis of alleged political affiliations.
As Members of the European Parliament we are urging you to fully respect all judicial procedures in line with European principles and standards. All actions taken by local Kosovar authorities must be in full respect of the rule of law and promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Arbitrary procedures concerning arrest, detention or extradition are in violation of these principles.
We trust in Kosovo’s authorities to keep up a strong stance on human rights and the rule of law and that it will withstand the pressure Turkey is systematically exerting.