Dozens of human rights activists gathered on Sunday in the southern Swedish city of Malmö to protest Ankara’s apparent sanctioning of enforced disappearances and to stand in solidarity with educator Orhan İnandı, who is allegedly being held against his will in the Turkish Embassy in Bishkek.
The protestors condemned İnandı’s suspicious disappearance in Kyrgyzstan and called on the international community to exert efforts for his release.
İnandı, the founder and president of the Turkish-Kyrgyz Sapat school network operating in Kyrgyzstan, went missing in Bishkek on the evening of May 31 and is feared to have been abducted by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen.
Since June 1 protests have taken place in Berlin, London, Oslo and Brussels as well as Bishkek in support of the Turkish educator, demanding his release. Kyrgyz citizens, politicians and NGOs continue calling on the country’s authorities to take all possible steps to ensure İnandı’s safety.
İnandı’s wife, Reyhan İnandı, said in a June 6 statement that an undisclosed source told her that her husband was being held against his will at the Turkish Embassy, and she claimed he was being tortured to renounce his Kyrgyz citizenship. This would simplify İnandı’s forcible transfer to Turkey, she said.
Although Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov ordered the State Committee for National Security and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to conduct an extensive search to locate İnandı, he is being criticized by the Kyrgyz for not pushing for an effective investigation to find the missing educator.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has called on Turkey to promptly take all measures necessary to establish the whereabouts of İnandı and said the government should ensure that İnandı would not be subjected to torture and inhuman treatment, guarantee his physical and mental integrity and immediately place him under the protection of the law.
Over the past five years scores of men alleged by Turkish authorities to have links to the Gülen movement, living in countries around the world, have been arbitrarily detained and forcibly returned to Turkey. There they are incarcerated on bogus terrorism charges in violation of due process rights and protections.
Turkish intelligence has intensified its efforts to target dissidents abroad. Most recently a nephew living in Kenya of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen was abducted by Turkish spies and brought back to Turkey, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
In a joint letter UN rapporteurs accused the Turkish government of engaging in the systematic practice of state-sponsored extraterritorial abductions and forcible returns to Turkey, with at least 100 Turkish nationals from multiple states including Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Gabon, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Pakistan removed to Turkey.
In a number of cases the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) concluded that the arrest, detention and forced transfer to Turkey of Turkish nationals were arbitrary and in violation of international human rights norms and standards.
A recent report by Freedom House on global transnational repression also revealed the intensity, geographic reach and suddenness of the Turkish government’s campaign targeting dissidents abroad, noting that Turkey has become number one among countries that have conducted renditions from host states since 2014.