Turkish family in Albania risk facing torture in new abuse case of Interpol by Turkey

Another abuse of Interpol mechanisms by Turkey, this time reported in Albania, has stranded a Turkish family in the country as they try to make their way to Italy.

Yasir Aydoğmuş, his wife Nermin Aydoğmuş and the couple’s 8 and 10-year-old children were detained in Albania as they were trying to cross to Italy but were released on a bail. They were detained again after the intervention by Turkish embassy officials who sought their extradition based on an arrest warrant filed through Interpol.

Aydoğmuş family fear they will be subjected to a torture and ill-treatment if they return to Turkey. The family has been reportedly under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

It was learned that Yasir Aydoğmuş was used to an academic at private Fatih University which was closed down by Turkish government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 over its alleged affiliation with the Gülen movement. His teacher wife was also dismissed from the duty in the same oppressive climate in wake of the coup attempt.

The family is believed to the associated with the Gülen movement that faces an unprecedented crackdown in Turkey where over 50,000 people were jailed in the last year or so on trumped up terror and coup charges.

Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday in a speech in the Serbian town of Novi Pazar alongside his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic that people affiliated with the Gülen movement will be “rooted out” from the Balkans. “We will root out this treacherous gang called FETÖ from the Balkans, just as we did from our country,” vowed Erdoğan.

“FETÖ” is a derogatory buzzword, coined by Erdoğan who calls the Gülen movement as Fethullahist Terrorist Organization.

European Parliament has recently debated the abuse of Interpol by Turkey and other states after Germany and Sweden pushed the issue to the agenda after their citizens were detained in Spain based on arrest warrants issued by Turkey through Intertpol. Matti Maasikas, Estonia’s Deputy Minister for EU Affairs, told MEPs in the European Parliament that an EU-Interpol committee would “discuss possible improvements of Interpol systems” with the police body at a meeting on November 20, 2017.

The Turkish government’s blatant abuse of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to persecute, harass and intimidate critics and opponents is much worse than one can imagine, research by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), an advocacy group that tracks rights violations in Turkey, has revealed.

“The dubious and false charges filed by Turkey through Interpol to hunt down legitimate critics of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have in some cases succeeded in extraditing people from abroad, subjecting returnees to torture and ill treatment in notorious Turkish prisons. In other cases, people were stranded in third countries while travelling and were forced to fight the forcible return as they remained in detention facilities,” said the SCF report.

Leading NGOs, such as Fair Trials in the UK, the New York-based Human Rights Watch, and Reporters Without Borders in Paris, have also urged the Interpol to weed out abuses.

More than 126,000 people have been detained over ties to the Gülen movement in Turkey and over 50,000 formally arrested so far while Erdogan earlier called on foreign governments to punish Gulen followers in their own countries.

In May Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Georgia and Myanmar handed over academics, businessmen and school principals upon the Turkish government’s request despite the fact that some of those victims already had refugee status with the UN. The move drew harsh criticism from human rights organizations.

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