Myanmar-based family abducted by Turkish embassy from Yangon airport


Date posted: May 26, 2017

Jacob Goldberg

Myanmar-based education professional M. Furkan Sökmen and his family were detained yesterday at the Yangon International Airport while trying to board a flight to Bangkok. The teacher appears to be the latest victim of the Turkish government’s worldwide “purge” targeting alleged followers of the Gülen opposition movement.

In a video posted on social media during an altercation with immigration officials at the Yangon airport, the teacher said the Turkish ambassador to Myanmar had pressured police to confiscate the family’s passports.

The True Stories Twitter account reported that Turkish embassy staff tried to force the family onto a flight to Turkey via Dubai, but the family refused and has since been in detention inside the embassy.

Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson told Coconuts: “Human Rights Watch is very concerned that if he is forced back to Turkey, he could face mistreatment and torture, long periods in pre-trial detention, and at the end, a trial on trumped charges before a court that fails to follow fair trial standards. This is what has happened to Turkish nationals snatched or forced back from other countries like Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.”

“The Embassy of Turkey unilaterally revoked or limited their passports in some way to make them vulnerable, and then sought to compel Myanmar to deport them to Turkey. This is a nasty, rights abusing tactic that is illegal under international human rights law because it renders them stateless. But clearly, the increasingly dictatorial government of President Erdoğan is prepared to run roughshod over rights and put pressure countries like Myanmar to go along,” Robertson said.

“Myanmar has to release the family from custody and provide them with an opportunity to seek and receive protection,” he added.

Government spokesperson Zaw Htay told AFP: “It has nothing to do with the Myanmar government. He and his family will be deported as their passports are invalid.”

According to one source who spoke on condition of anonymity, M. Furkan Sökmen previously worked as a “head of accounts” and “financial administrator” for Horizon International Schools, which include six campuses located in Yangon, Mandalay, and Naypyidaw.

Earlier this month, the school rebranded under pressure from the Myanmar government. The school had been under investigation for links to “terrorist organizations” since the failed coup against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July 2016.

Several days after the attempted coup, the Horizon International Schools website released a statement condemning the coup and calling for its leaders to be brought to justice.

“We openly condemn all radical religious groups that are causing violence and sufferings [sic] around the world and would like to announce that we have absolutely no link to any of them,” the statement said.

The Gülen movement, which is listed as a “terrorist organization” in Turkey, has also denied any involvement in the coup attempt. International investigators have found no evidence of the movement’s involvement.

Since the coup attempt, Erdoğan has orchestrated an international crackdown against people suspected of having links to the US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, including calling on foreign governments to punish Gülen followers abroad. Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Georgia are among the few countries that have previously complied with Erdoğan’s request.

Last weekend, NBA star Enes Kanter was temporarily denied entry to Romania upon request from the Turkish government. He had come to Romania after fleeing Indonesia, where he learned local intelligence was searching for him after being told by the Turkish government that he was a “dangerous man”.

Earlier this month, three Turkish nationals – a teacher, an academic, and a businessman – were abducted without warning in Malaysia and deported. Their detention was followed by contradictory statements from Malaysian officials: the deputy prime minister claimed the trio had links to the Islamic State, while the police chief said they were linked to Gülen.

Yesterday, several hours before Sökmen was detained in Yangon, a Turkish teacher was detained in Georgia at the request of the Turkish government.

The Turkish government has reportedly confiscated more than 50,000 passports and arrested or fired over 100,000 people since the crackdown began.

Source: Coconuts Yangon , May 25, 2017


Related News

No secularism or democracy without religious freedom

The gentleman gently said: “However, dear Mr. Alpay, it was clear from the beginning that the AKP had a hidden agenda. But pundits like yourself conveyed a highly positive picture of the AKP government both at home and abroad. You have a responsibility in the situation we find ourselves today.”

How hateful discourse manipulates our perception

Claims have been made that these multi-billion-dollar deals have generated a huge hoard of funds for Erdoğan to buy off some media outlets through proxies, hire new sets of journalists to defend his government line and even convert critical analysts with fat checks to prod them to the other side of the aisle. And these claims also explain why some media groups are conducting black propaganda against the Hizmet movement.

More Academics, Teachers, Charity Staff Detained Over Alleged Gülen Links

Tens of academics, teachers, university staff and aid organization personnel were detained by police in Turkey over alleged links with Gülen movement.

Khamenei representative says will not set foot in paradise if Gülen is there

A representative of the Iranian mullah regime has voiced his dislike of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, saying that he will not even enter paradise if Gülen is there.

Pro-gov’t columnist still threatening fellow journalists

A columnist for the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak, Cem Küçük, continues to target journalists critical of the government for regular intimidation in his column.On Jan. 16, Küçük argued that an operation will be staged against newspapers with ties to the Hizmet movement and that the journalists who work in those newspapers would be brought to trial. He also said that the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) would be tried over its press releases.

Erdogan blackmails President-Elect Trump

“Turkey desperately wants the U.S. government to extradite an imam [Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen],” Maddow explained. “They [the U.S.] have said that they are not extraditing him. But if that’s what you wanted, what if you could squeeze the personal financial interests of the American president as a way to get what you want from the American government?”

Latest News

Turkish Food Festival seeks to teach Greenville about Turkey’s culture and cuisine

Chestnut Retreat Center offers a look inside their Saylorsburg facility and its mission

Erdoğan’s overarching purge is not a road accident

Is Gulen the scapegoat of Ankara crisis?

Post-coup purge in Turkey leaves children parentless after mother and father are put behind bars

Turkey’s post-coup purge and persecution makes no exception for children

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences for the Beirut Explosion

Turkish Cultural Center Hosts Food Drive

Hizmet movement demonized by Erdogan regime but loved abroad

In Case You Missed It

Are Turkey’s Prisoners Hostages?

Report: Turkey’s purge risks isolating its higher education from int’l academia

Kimse Yok Mu providing assistance to Ebola victims in Guinea

Despite obstacles, Kimse Yok Mu delivers aid to thousands worldwide

Turkey’s harsh new reality: the gateway to Jihad Central

Turkish charity delivers sacrificial meat to 30,000 families in Philippines

South Korean NGO: It’s hard to make sense of what is being done to Kimse Yok Mu

Copyright 2020 Hizmet News