Lawyer for Turkish-Kyrgyz educator’s family demands expulsion of Turkish ambassador in Bishkek

Ambassador Ahmet Sadık Doğan

The lawyer for the family of Turkish-Kyrgyz educator Orhan İnandı, who was recently abducted by the Turkish Intelligence Organization (MİT), on Wednesday called on President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov to declare the Turkish ambassador in Bishkek persona non grata, local media reported.

“In connection with the special operation carried out by the Turkish side, we ask you to declare the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkey, Ahmet Sadık Doğan, persona non grata in accordance with Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” lawyer Taalaigul Toktakunova said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday had confirmed that İnandı, who went missing on the night of May 31, was abducted by Turkish intelligence due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen. İnandı is the founder and president of the prestigious Sapat school network operating in Kyrgyzstan.

Turkish Ambassador Doğan was summoned on Tuesday by Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev upon an order from President Japarov. He was handed an official note of protest denouncing the abduction of İnandı.

Japarov said in an interview that his government would demand İnandı’s prompt return to Kyrgyzstan. According to his spokesperson it is “absurd to speculate” that Kyrgyz authorities were involved in the kidnapping of İnandı. But rights groups say it’s unlikely he could have been taken without their complicity.

In a statement Human Rights Watch’s Hugh Williamson said, “That İnandı, a dual Turkish-Kyrgyz national, could be abducted and missing for weeks on Kyrgyz soil only to be illegally removed from the country by Turkey’s intelligence services, suggests the Kyrgyz government is either unwilling or unable to stand up to Ankara or directly colluded with them.”

According to the 24.kg news website, Kyrgyzstan’s Ambassador to Turkey Kubanychbek Omuraliev met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yavuz Selim Kıran on Wednesday, requesting information on the whereabouts of İnandı and asking for consular access. Kıran said he would forward the request to the Justice Ministry.

Yet, Omuraliev was seen in photos shared by Kıran the same day to be in high spirits during the opening of a photo exhibition at Turkey’s Foreign Ministry to mark the 30th anniversary of the independence of Kyrgyzstan.

According to the AKIpress news website, Kyrgyz parliamentarians asked First Deputy Foreign Minister Nuran Niyazaliev if Ambassador Omuraliev would be called home for consultations if his request to visit İnandı was turned down.

Niyazaliev said everything depended on Turkey’s response. “We will carry out further work depending upon this reply,” he added.

Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement 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.

Over the past five years, scores of men alleged by the Turkish authorities to have links with 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 international law protecting basic rights including to liberty and security, a fair trial, and freedoms of opinion, expression, and association.

In several of these 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 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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