Turkey signed secret agreements to abduct dissidents from foreign countries: UN letter

Abducted Turks in Turkish Embassy, Kosovo
Turkish nationals who were abducted in Kosovo were kept for a time at the Turkish embassy premises.

The Turkish government signed bilateral security cooperation agreements with multiple states that were phrased ambiguously to allow for the expulsion or abduction of Turkish nationals living abroad, a joint UN letter has underlined, Nordic Monitor reported.

UN rapporteurs Luciano Hazan, chair-rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Felipe González Morales, special rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants; Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism; and Nils Melzer, special rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment sent a joint letter to the Turkish government to express their concern about the “systematic practice of state-sponsored extraterritorial abductions and forcible return of Turkish nationals from multiple States to Turkey.”

In the letter they also conveyed their concerns about the personal safety and integrity of the deported individuals as well as those at imminent risk of deportation from third countries.

The UN rapporteurs asked the Turkish government to provide further information about its operations in coordination with authorities in Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Gabon, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Pakistan for the abduction, arbitrary arrest, detention, enforced disappearance or torture of at least 100 individuals suspected of involvement with the “Hizmet/Gulen movement,” a group critical of the Turkish government that appears to be the latest victim of the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğa. In addition, they accused the Turkish government of curtailing independent and effective investigations into these abuses.

“The Government of Turkey, in coordination with other States, is reported to have forcibly transferred over 100 Turkish nationals to Turkey, of which 40 individuals have been subjected to enforced disappearance, mostly abducted off the streets or from their homes all over the world, and in multiple instances along with their children,” the letter said.

Nordic Monitor previously reported how the content of Turkey’s security agreements has changed in parallel to the transformation of national legislation and that the new documents contained ambiguous copy-paste phrases designed to suppress government opponents outside the country. According to research conducted by Nordic Monitor, President Erdoğan’s Islamist government considers international security mechanisms a convenient tool for political persecution abroad.

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