German Green Party co-chair calls on int’l community to prevent deportation of educator İnandı to Turkey

Cem Özdemir, the co-chairman of the German Green Party, on Wednesday called on the international community to prevent the deportation to Turkey of educator Orhan İnandı, who he said is currently being held in the Turkish Embassy in Kyrgyzstan.

“Orhan Inandi is held at the Turkish Embassy in Bishkek. His deportation to Turkey must be prevented with all diplomatic means!” he said in a tweet.

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.

Özdemir also pointed out Turkey’s policy of transnational repression targeting dissidents abroad, saying “[President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan doesn‘t care about national borders when it comes to abducting his critics.”

Rights organizations continue urging Kyrgyz authorities to exert efforts for the release of Inandi. Human Rights Watch (HRW) also on Wednesday called on Kyrgyz authorities to investigate the disappearance of İnandı and “ensure his safety and that he is not unlawfully removed to Turkey.”

“We demand the Kyrgyz authorities to take all possible steps to ensure his release,”  chair of the Delegation to the EU-Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee Fulvio Martusciello said yesterday in a tweet.

On Thursday the Human Rights Foundation called on Kyrgyz President Sadyr Saparov to demand İnandı’s release and to “prevent his potential deportation under international law’s non-refoulement principle.”

İnandı’s car was found early on June 1 with doors open and valuables intact, suggesting this was not a case of robbery. Kyrgyz police initiated an investigation into İnandı’s disappearance on the same day, followed by an instruction from President Japarov to the State Committee on National Security and the Interior Ministry to intensify the ongoing searches.

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.

On June 7 Kyrgyzstan’s deputy foreign affairs minister, Aibek Artykbaev, confirmed at a parliament hearing that in 2019 the government of Turkey had requested İnandı’s extradition, which the Kyrgyz government refused at the time, referring to İnandı’s Kyrgyz citizenship.

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.

İnandı’s alleged abduction by Turkey prompted many Kyrgyz including students and parents from the Sapat schools to hold protests, demanding the educator’s release. The protests mostly take place in front of the Turkish Embassy in Bishkek where İnandı is believed to be held.

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 at the weekend, 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.

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.

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