The Independent: Turkish men ‘face torture’ after being extradited from Malaysia as post-coup crackdown continues

Tayyip Erdogan has called on countries around the world to find and deport Gulen supporters
Tayyip Erdogan has called on countries around the world to find and deport Gulen supporters


Date posted: May 12, 2017

Lizzie Dearden

Three Turkish men including a school principal are at risk of torture after being “abducted” and extradited from Malaysia, human rights groups have warned.

International school headteacher Turgay Karaman, academic Ismet Ozcelik and businessman Ihsan Aslan are believed to have been targeted over suspected links to a US-based cleric accused of leading an attempted coup against Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

His government has been attempting to round up Fethullah Gulen’s supporters around the world, while investigating more than 150,000 people in an ongoing crackdown that has generated international alarm.

Mr Gulen has denied any link to the coup, while international authorities have found no evidence for Turkey’s claims or its designation of the movement as a terrorist organisation.

But purges have shown no sign of slowing, with the online editor of a leading opposition newspaper among fresh suspects including dozens of former Istanbul stock exchange traders arrested on Friday.

The three Turkish men detained in Malaysia were deported without warning overnight despite pleas from their families for authorities either to free them, allow them to leave for another country or grant them a fair trial in Malaysia.

Officials in Kuala Lumpur had released contradictory statements after claiming Mr Karaman and Mr Aslan had been arrested for offences related to national security.

CCTV shows Turkish school principal being ‘abducted’
Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister told media they were suspected of links to Isis but police chief Khalid Abu Bakar later confirmed the operation was over alleged ties to the Gulenist movement.

He said the men had also technically become illegal immigrants because Turkey had cancelled their passports.

Amnesty International’s deputy south-east Asia director, Josef Benedict, said the trio had been “arbitrarily detained”, adding: “By sending these three men suspected of links to Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey, the Malaysian authorities have put their liberty and well-being at risk.

“They have already suffered a harrowing ordeal, being arbitrarily detained and held incommunicado.

“Now, they have been extradited to Turkey, where they could face arbitrary detention, unfair trial and a real risk of torture.”

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, attacked the Malaysian government for using false allegations of Isis links to detain the suspects without trial.

“The Malaysian government’s duplicity and crass abuse of the rights of these three men really sets this case apart,” he added.

“Done in the middle of the night, with no notification to their families, Malaysia sent these three men to face a possible risk of torture and prolonged pre-trial detention, followed by a court trial that will likely fail to meet fair trial standards.”

The deportation of former university trustee Mr Ozcelik, who had person of concern status with the UN refugee agency in Kuala Lumpur, was a violation of international human rights, he said.

Rosli Dahlan, a lawyer representing Mr Ozcelik and Mr Karaman, said relatives were “shocked and deeply hurt” by the deportations, which came without notice.

“They continue to fear for the safety of Ismet Ozcelik and Turgay Karaman who may face the same fate as [two other Turkish men] who were illegally removed from Malaysia and subjected to rendition to Turkey, who until today are still detained in a Turkish prison without trial,” he told The Independent.

Relatives said both men had entered Malaysia legally and held valid visas, adding that they had committed no criminal offences either there or in Turkey and that there was “no basis” for allegations of terrorist links.

“They are merely academicians trying to build a life in a country they deemed safe and peaceful and would not submit to any political ploy or pressure,” a joint statement read.

Mr Karaman and Mr Aslan went missing on 2 May and were initially feared to have been abducted before police confirmed they had been detained. Two days later, academic Ismet Ozcelik was held.

He was already under the jurisdiction of the Malaysian court system over an unrelated charge of obstructing a public officer, having left Turkey after being fired from his university following July’s coup.

Mr Ozcelik was arrested in Kuala Lumpur for allegedly resisting immigration officers who attempted to take away his passport, after receiving a letter from the Turkish embassy linking Mr Ozcelik with the Gulen movement.

Wife appeals for husband’s return after ‘arrest’ in Malaysia 
He had been visiting his son Suheyl, a teacher at the Time International School headed by Mr Karaman, who was among the witnesses called for his defence.

The principal was detained by plainclothes officers in an underground car park the day before the case was due to start, being bundled into a car as he made his way to attend a legal meeting.

“He is a gentleman and never hurt anyone,” Mr Karaman’s wife said in an emotional appeal.

Meanwhile in Turkey, there was fresh alarm over the arrest of Oguz Guven, the editor of pro-secular Cumhuriyet newspaper’s online edition.

Authorities also detained a writer and television commentator days after he claimed one of the adopted daughters of Turkey’s revered founding leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was in fact his mistress – sparking outrage in the country.

More than 50 employees of the Istanbul stock exchange were additionally arrested over alleged links to the Gulen movement, after prosecutors ordered the detention of 102 people including former teachers at schools that were closed after the coup.

About 145,000 civil servants, judges, prosecutors, security personnel and academics have also been suspended or sacked as part of a the purge.

Turkey has applied pressure to countries around the world that are home to institutions backed by Mr Gulen, whose movement runs about 2,000 educational establishments in around 160 countries.

Source: Independent , May 12, 2017


Related News

Turkey Assails a Revered Islamic Moderate

Though little known in the United States, for many years Mr. Gulen was an unofficial ambassador for Turkey who promoted a moderate brand of Islam. He preached tolerance, meeting with Pope John Paul II and other religious and political leaders, among them Turkey’s prime ministers and presidents. DOUGLAS FRANTZ, August 25, 2000 Onur Elgin, a […]

Canada’s Turkish community on edge as government crackdown continues

In the aftermath of the failed coup — and the subsequent purge of thousands of workers accused of being dissidents — Canada has seen a spike in asylum claims from Turkey. The 55,000-strong Turkish-Canadian community has also become increasingly polarized, with distrust and accusations of witch hunts against anyone deemed to be a sympathizer and supporter of the Gulen Movement.

Columnist sees Gülen ‘conspiracy’ in ruling against Israel

Presenting the Gülen movement as the architect of the court ruling may help the government deal with a possible backlash from families, the İHH — an outspoken supporter of the government’s Middle East policies — and a wider segment of its own voters who want Israeli officials to pay for the Mavi Marmara raid, in case a reconciliation deal with Israel goes into effect. Internationally, it may help the government deal with Israeli and Western criticism that it is not committed to reconciliation with Israel despite officially vowing that it is.

Bipartisan think-tank: The U.S. should not interfere politically in Gülen extradition case

If the executive branch were to interfere too forcefully in the Gülen extradition case now, it would only confirm Turkish leaders’ belief that the U.S. system operates on the same corrupt terms as Turkey’s. This would fundamentally affirm Erdoğan’s view that democracy as a value and a practice is a purely cynical discourse used by Western powers to harm Turkey.

Turkish anti-terrorism police carried out raids in six cities, detaining at least five people with alleged links to al-Qaida

The police raid “is a deliberate attack on the IHH,” said Yasar Kutluay, the group’s secretary general. “They are trying to portray the group as an organization with links to terrorism.” He blamed Israel and Gulen’s supporters, for the operation — a charge Gulen’s movement immediately rejected as “slander and false incrimination.”

Former Hampton Roads physicist arrested after Turkey coup attempt

When Alicia Hofler of Newport News heard about terrorists bombing the Istanbul airport in June, she shot off an email to her old college friend, Serkan Golge, a NASA contractor in Houston.

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Turkey Wants Mongolia To Shut Down Turkish Schools

Canadian rights advocate says Turkey’s post-coup crackdown amounts to genocide

Grondahl: Turkish community strong in wake of threats from back home

Extradition request for Gülen aims at manipulating public perception

Torture appeared widespread after Turkey coup: UN expert

Journalist Karaca sentenced to 31 years for slandering al-Qaeda-affiliated group

Woman dismissed from job because she had surgery at hospital targeted by gov’t

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News