Karaman and Özçelik, Turkish nationals deported illegally by Malaysian gov’t, arrested by Ankara court

Turgay Karaman and İhsan Aslan were detained by Malaysian officials in Kuala Lumpur and deported to Turkey on May 11, 2017.

Turkish educators Turgay Karaman and İsmet Özçelik, who were turned over to Turkey by Malaysian government under questionable circumstances with a total disregard to due process and fair trial protections, were arrested by a an Ankara court and put behind the bars over their alleged links with the Gülen movement on Wednesday.

It was also reported by pro-government news sources that businessman İhsan Aslan, who was also deported illegally from Kuala Lumpur by Malaysian government, was released by the same court under judicial probe.

Turgay Karaman, the principal of prestigious Time International School, İhsan Aslan, a member of Malaysian Turkish Chamber of Commerce And Industry and İsmet Özçelik, an academic who has been under protection by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), were detained by Malaysian officials in Kuala Lumpur and deported to Turkey on May 11.

The abductions, detentions and extraditions of three Turkish nationals in Malaysia as part of clandestine operation by Turkey’s state security services in cooperation with Malaysian police had exposed Turkish government’s extensive spying and profiling activities targeting critics of the authoritarian regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on foreign soil.

Apparently embarrassed by an expose on unlawful and shady affairs involving President Erdoğan, a close friend of Najib Razak, Malaysian government tried to contain the damage inflicted on its reputation. However, it was reported that the harassment of Turks affiliated with the Gülen movement is still ongoing with many being trailed and monitored by people who are believed to be linked to Malaysian and Turkish security services.

Earlier this months, it was revealed that the profiling of Erdoğan’s critics led to what initially appeared to be abductions by unknown gunmen but later turned out to be detentions by elements of Malaysian security services at the request of Turkish government. Malaysia has handed over six Turkish nationals to Erdoğan regime in the last six months amid outcry from international human rights organizations that urged Malaysian government to halt the practice for fear of torture, cruel treatment and abuse of government critics at the hands of Erdoğan regime.

Alettin Duman, one of founders of Time International School, and Tamer Tıbık, the General Secretary of the Malaysian Turkish Chamber of Commerce And Industry, were abducted in Kuala Lumpur last year, only to appear in Turkish prison in Ankara months later after having gone through a terrible ordeal of torture and abuse at the hands of Malaysian and Turkish officials. The sixth person, mentioned by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as handed over to Turkey by Malaysia, still remains to be a mystery as of today.

Erdoğan started targeting US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen movement openly after the corruption was exposed in December 2013 that incriminated the president and his family members, and later accused Gülen and the movement of being behind the failed coup of July 15, 2016 that he himself called as “gift from the God.”

Fethullah Gülen, however, rejected the accusations and has called for an independent international commission to be set up to investigate the coup attempt. The Turkish government has failed to present any evidence linking the movement to the abortive coup or any violence.

According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

May 24, 2017

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