Turkish gov’t hosts group of Pakistani journalists amid Kaçmaz scandal

As questions persist about the abduction of former Pak-Turk school director in Pakistan Mesut Kaçmaz and his family in Lahore last month, Turkey is hosting a group of Pakistan media and intelligence service members.

According to local sources the Pakistani group, including Ameer Abbas from Dawn TV, Sami Ibraheem from ARY News and Irfan Ashraf from Roze TV, arrived in Istanbul on Oct. 8.

The group will meet with Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Çavuşoğlu, Turkish-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group Chairman Muhammet Balta and the Prime Ministry’s Directorate General of Press and Information General Director Mehmet Akarca.

The group also will visit the state-run Anadolu news agency, state-run TRT World and the pro-government Turkuvaz and Doğan media groups before returning to Pakistan on Oct. 14.

Local sources also claimed that the group would be accompanied two top-level ISI intelligence agency members.

The visit comes 12 days after the abduction of the former director of a Pak-Turk school in Pakistan Mesut Kaçmaz and his family, who were targeted by the Turkish government for alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

According to a witness, the Kaçmaz family was abducted by 15 plainclothes “police officers” at midnight from their house in Lahore.

Pakistanı media, deputies, civil society representatives and students of the Turkish school have been protesting the silence of the Pakistani government over the abduction.

Ahead of a visit by Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Pakistan, the Pakistani government on Nov. 15 had ordered teachers who worked at 23 schools affiliated with the Gülen movement in the country to leave Pakistan by Nov. 20.

Kaçmaz and his family were allowed to stay one year in Lahore upon receiving an asylum certificate from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Foreign Minister Pakistan Khawaja M. Asıf said in Washington on Saturday that UN protection of the Kaçmaz family had expired Sept. 30, acknowledging that the family was abducted by Pakistani security officials. But the media shared a UN document which shows that the protection continues until Nov. 27.

In Pakistan, the Gülen movement runs a network of schools and the Rumi Forum, an intellectual and intercultural dialogue platform, in addition to having business interests. Gülen-linked organizations and businesses have been operating in Pakistan for decades.

Since the eruption of a corruption investigation in late 2013 in which senior members of the Turkish government were involved, Erdoğan has been waging an all-out war against the movement. All Gülen-linked schools, organizations and foundations were closed down in Turkey after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Erdoğan is also exerting pressure on other countries to close down Gülen schools operating within their borders. (turkishminute.com)

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