Educator Orhan İnandı, founder and director of the Sapat school network in Kyrgyzstan, went missing after leaving his house in Bishkek on Monday evening, the TR7/24 news website reported.
According to the media reports, İnandı left his home at around 8 p.m. Monday evening, and Kyrgyz police launched a missing person search in the early hours of Tuesday. A Toyota Lexus that belonged to İnandı was found parked in an area around eight kilometers from his home at around 4 a.m. on Tuesday.
He was last contacted by a friend at around 9 p.m. Attempts by his family to contact him all failed. He is feared to have been abducted by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to his family.
“His jacket and two phones were in the car. Although I don’t have any eyewitnesses, I suspect that he was abducted and taken to Turkey, and I fear for his life,” İnandı’s wife said.
İnandı, a Kyrgyz citizen of Turkish origin, has been living in Kyrgyzstan since 1992. The Kyrgyz government had denied the Turkish government’s request for İnandı’s extradition on terrorism charges.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
“An investigative-operational group has been created. All the necessary investigative actions and search measures are being taken to establish the whereabouts of the citizen [İnandı],” the Kyrgyzstan police said in a statement.
According to the AKIpress news agency, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov ordered the State Committee for National Security and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to conduct an extensive search to locate the missing teacher.
MİT has intensified its efforts to target dissidents abroad. Most recently a nephew living in Kenya of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen was arrested by Turkish spies and brought back to Turkey at the weekend, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
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.
According to the report, Ankara’s campaign has primarily targeted people affiliated with the Gülen movement, but the government has started applying the same tactics to Kurdish and leftist individuals living abroad.
The Freedom House report also indicated that the Turkish government has pursued its perceived enemies in at least 30 host countries spread across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia since the coup attempt.
According to recent official statements by its interior ministry, Turkey has sent 800 extradition requests to 105 countries since the attempt, and more than 110 alleged members of the movement have been brought back to Turkey as part of the government’s global campaign.