The Turkish government’s response to a joint UN letter on systematic, state-sponsored abductions and the forcible return of Turkish nationals was conveyed by the country’s permanent mission to the UN office in Geneva, via a note verbale dated June 11, 2020, the Nordic Monitor news website reported.
In the response, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s diplomats, who coordinated state-sponsored abductions and systematically spied on government critics, accused the Hizmet/Gülen movement of manipulating the UN with false allegations instead of providing further information about illegal operations.
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.”
Similarly, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found at its 87th session held between April 27 and May 1, 2020 that the deprivation of liberty due to the Hizmet/Gülen movement links of three individuals was arbitrary, lacked a legal basis and violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It further held that those with alleged links to the movement are being targeted on the basis of their political or other opinions, constituting a prohibited discriminatory ground, the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) reported.