Eight non-governmental organizations have called on the Georgian government to refrain from returning detained Turkish teacher to back home where “he will be possibly subjected to political persecution, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. “[He] will have no access to fair trial,” said a statement, released on May 31.
The R. Shahin Friendship School in Batumi, among the most in-demand schools in the whole country, was denied authorization by the General Educational Authorization Council of Georgia. Fingers are pointed at Turkey’s Erdogan as he is increasing political pressure on the countries where his arch-rival, Fethullah Gulen, still maintains a foothold.
The situation in Georgia illustrates the challenge for Turkish diplomats. A few days after the July 15 coup attempt, a translation of a TV interview began circulating that featured Yasin Temizkan, Turkey’s consul in the city of Batumi. In the interview, Temizkan urged the Georgian government to close the local Refaiddin Şahin Friendship School, a private institution considered part of the Gülen network. The justification, Temizkan said, was that the school was “serving terrorist groups.”