Spouse of missing educator appeals to Kyrgyz president to find her husband

Reyhan İnandı, the wife of Turkish-Kyrgyz educator Orhan İnandı, appealed to Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov on Thursday to find her husband, who went missing one month ago.

In a video message shared on Twitter, İnandı said she and her four children have been anxiously awaiting information about Orhan İnandı’s whereabouts and his health. “You had given instructions to find Orhan İnandı. I am hoping that you will follow up on your instructions to get a good result,” she said.

Orhan İnandı, the founder and president of the Turkish-Kyrgyz Sapat school network operating in Kyrgyzstan, is feared to have been abducted by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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.

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.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by 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.

In addition to Bishkek, since June 1 protests have been taking place in major capitals around the world including Washington, Berlin, London and Brussels in support of the Turkish educator, demanding his release. 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.

Rights organizations have also asked Kyrgyz authorities to exert efforts for the release of İnandı. Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Kyrgyz authorities to investigate the disappearance of İnandı and “ensure his safety and that he is not unlawfully removed to Turkey.” According to HRW, allowing İnandı’s rendition to Turkey would violate Kyrgyzstan’s obligations under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which it ratified in 1997.

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