Wife worried missing educator subjected to torture, maltreatment

The wife of the president of a prestigious school network in Kyrgyzstan who went missing in Bishkek on Monday said she has concerns about her husband being subjected to maltreatment and torture by his abductors, Turkish Minute reported.

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

İnandı’s wife, Reyhan, who spoke at a news conference on Thursday, said: “It’s a race against time [to find him]. We know nothing about what happened to him, how he is and where he is. I am concerned about him being tortured.”

İnandı, a Kyrgyz citizen of Turkish origin, has been living in Kyrgyzstan since 1992. The Kyrgyz government had denied the Turkish government’s request for İnandı’s extradition on terrorism charges.

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

Reyhan İnandı also said she has faith that the Kyrgyz government will do whatever it can to find her husband.

Thursday’s news conference, which took place at the Bishkek Akipress Media, was also attended by two lawyers from the Sapat schools and a member of an alumni association.

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.

Reyhan İnandı said she and her husband have always felt safe in Kyrgyzstan, where they have been living for more than two decades and raising their four children, adding that the security provided by the Kyrgyz state wasn’t with him when he disappeared.

The woman said Orhan İnandı’s security guard accompanied him only during work hours because İnandı thought it was not necessary to have the guard all day.

“He always felt himself safe here. I go out walking at 12 a.m., and I have no fears,” said Reyhan İnandı, adding that her views about Kyrgyzstan and its people have not changed.

Turkish intelligence has intensified its efforts to target dissidents abroad. Most recently a nephew living in Kenya of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen was abducted by Turkish spies and brought back to Turkey at the weekend, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Kyrgyz MPs want an explanation 

Members of the Kyrgyz Parliament, meanwhile, at a parliamentary session on Thursday called on the country’s interior minister, Ulan Niyazbekov, to make a statement about the disappearance of İnandı

Kyrgyz MP Ulugbek Ormonov said the disappearance of the educator has led to chaos in the country, adding: “The people are in a panic. The president has ordered the relevant authorities to locate İnandı. Nothing has been heard from him for three days. What is happening? The interior minister should make a statement. This is important for the Kyrgyz people.”

Another Kyrgyz MP, Dastan Bekeshev, said the state authorities should make a statement about the disappearance of İnandı because the Kyrgyz people have questions and suspicions about the incident.

“There are reports about his abduction by foreign special forces. I don’t believe that. I want to know what really happened [to İnaldı],” said Bekeshev.

Shailoobek Atazov, another member of the Kyrgyz Parliament, said most of the members of the Parliament send their children to schools established by İnandı. He complained that although it has been three days since his disappearance, the Kyrgyz authorities haven’t issued a statement.

The Sapat (formerly Sebat) network of educational institutions has been operating in Kyrgyzstan since 1992. The school network has been run by the Kyrgyz Republic since 2017. İnandı had been working in Kyrgyzstan since 1995 and had been president of the schools since 2001. He has been a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic since 2010.

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarovo on Tuesday ordered the State Committee for National Security and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to conduct an extensive search to locate İnandı.

In a joint letter UN rapporteurs accused the Turkish government of engaging in the systematic practice of state-sponsored extraterritorial abductions and forcible returns to Turkey, with at least 100 Turkish nationals from multiple states including Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Gabon, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Pakistan removed to Turkey.

In a number of cases the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) concluded that the arrest, detention and forced transfer to Turkey of Turkish nationals were arbitrary and in violation of international human rights norms and standards.

A recent report by Freedom House on global transnational repression also revealed the intensity, geographic reach and suddenness of the Turkish government’s campaign targeting dissidents abroad, noting that Turkey has become number one among countries that have conducted renditions from host states since 2014.

According to the report, Ankara’s campaign has primarily targeted people affiliated with the Gülen movement, but the government has started applying the same tactics to Kurdish and leftist individuals living abroad.

The Freedom House report also indicated that the Turkish government has pursued its perceived enemies in at least 30 host countries spread across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia since the coup attempt.

According to recent official statements by its interior ministry, Turkey has sent 800 extradition requests to 105 countries since the attempt, and more than 110 alleged members of the movement have been brought back to Turkey as part of the government’s global campaign.

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