Teacher detained in Turkey after forced return from Myanmar


Date posted: May 31, 2017

Muhammet Furkan Sökmen, a Turkish teacher working for two schools established by Gulen movement followers in Myanmar, was forcibly returned to Turkey despite his cries for help on social media.

He was detained at Istanbul Ataturk Airport and was taken to a police station for interrogation, on Saturday.

Sökmen called for “help from the world” in a video recording he posted on social media minutes before he was handed over to Turkish authorities at Yangon International Airport by Myanmar police on Friday.

According to another video he earlier posted on social media, Sökmen, his wife Ayşe and daughter Sibel were detained by local immigration officials who told the family that Turkish government had invalidated their passports.

According to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, Sökmen was first forcibly deported to Bangkok, Thailand on May 24.

“They take me to Bangkok. I am at the airport now. If they send me to Turkey, I will be prisoned and most probably tortured like many other tortured under the currency regime. …I am asking for international protection” Sökmen said in another video.

Despite his calls, he was taken back to Istanbul with Turkish police in company, in a Turkish Airlines flight.

An executive at the Horizon International Schools, Sokmen is also a partner of the Mediterranean International Education Services Co. Ltd, both based in Myanmar.

Human Rights Watch condemns forced return by Myanmar, Thailand

In a statement on May 26, Phil Robertson, the Deputy Asia Director of the Human Rights Watch said: “Both Myanmar and Thailand had the opportunity to do the right thing and provide this school administrator with access to #UNHCR so that his serious fears of persecution and possible torture if returned to Turkey could be examined. To do so would have been both humane and rights respecting, but both governments took the apparently cynical view that Turkey can do whatever it wants with its citizens, even those residing legally in other countries.

“Government leaders in #Yangon and #Bangkok have instead shamelessly chose to play the role of willing handmaidens to Turkey’s rights abusing campaign to strip its own citizens of their passports and force them back to a fate that could include possible torture, long pre-trial detention, and trials on trumped up charges before courts where proceedings are likely to be neither free nor fair.

“As a result, Furkan Sökmen will begin Ramadan this year in prison, separated from his wife and infant daughter, facing an uncertain but certainly very grim fate.

“His pleas sent in a video to HRW and others around the world from the Suvarnnaphum airport lock-up, to not be sent back to #Turkey speak for themselves. His voice stands as an indictment of #Thailand and #Myanmar’s cynical disparagement of the right of people to refuge and protection from political persecution.”

Turkey’s long-arm abroad

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. After the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the Gülen group for the attempt.

President Erdoğan earlier called on foreign governments to punish Gülenists in their own countries. Only a few countries, including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Georgia, seem to have complied with the request so far.

Turkey has already detained more than 120,000 people over their alleged or real ties to the movement at home before spreading its crackdown to overseas.

Meanwhile, NBA star Enes Kanter was denied entry to Romania upon a request from the Turkish government, according to a tweet posted by the Turkish basketball player on May 20.

An outspoken movement supporter, Kanter later told media that the Turkish government also had tried to catch him in Indonesia.

Source: Turkey Purge , May 27, 2017


Related News

Corruption probe [in Turkey]

Radikal’s Cüneyt Özdemir said that even if some people interpret the corruption operation as a manifestation of the rift between the Hizmet movement and the government, it does not reduce the importance and seriousness of the allegations directed against the detainees. “The fact that it involves the general manager of a state-run bank and the sons of three ministers shows us the importance of this investigation,” he said.

Erdogan’s religious counsel issues fatwa for civil war, ordinary crimes

Prof. Hayrettin Karaman, Erdogan’s close friend and religious counsel, and AKP’s main Islamist theologian, has issued a fatwa that legitimizes certain crimes during a civil war. He said, “soldiers who commit ordinary crimes during a wartime shall not be punished.”

Erdoğan’s accusation that Hizmet organized the coup attempt is noxious and absurd

The name of that “terrorist organization” was not spoken, but Ökem was referring to the so-called Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü. To the rest of the world, it’s the Hizmet movement founded by Fethullah Gülen, a former close and important ally of Erdoğan. No one else sees it as violent. Erdoğan’s accusation that it organized the coup attempt is noxious and absurd.

Tanzanian students place first in Turkish Olympiad folk dance final

KÜBRA ENGİN, İSTANBUL A group of Tanzanian students won the final round in the 11th International Turkish Olympiad folk dance competition held at the İstanbul Sinan Erdem Sports Complex on Thursday night. Thousands of spectators were thrilled by the performances of foreign students in the folk dance finals as part of the Olympiad, a competition […]

PM continues war he already lost

If a statement appearing in the Cumhuriyet daily, where the prime minister was quoted as saying that the “money used [in corruption] belongs to the state, not the people” reflects the truth, then this is a clear acknowledgement of wrongdoing.

Today’s Zaman’s Mahir Zeynalov leaves Turkey under deportation threat

Zeynalov has been put on a list of foreign individuals who are barred from entering Turkey under Law No. 5683, because of “posting tweets against high-level state officials,” Today’s Zaman learned

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

Failure of political Islamists in Turkey

Secretary Tillerson: Evidence against Gulen provided by Turkey inadequate, while voluminous

Kazakh President Nazarbayev hails Turkish schools in his country

Turkish govt begins massive deportation of Nigerian students

UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Gülen and the Hizmet Movement

Watch your mouth

Gulen says he is certain Erdogan behind failed Turkey coup

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News