Taci Şentürk, a Turkish teacher who was working in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, was taken by police to an unknown place after UN officials stopped his deportation to Turkey at Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport on June 7, his wife said.
In a video shared on social media, Fatma Şentürk said her husband was detained at his office by Azerbaijan police at noon on Wednesday and taken to the airport for deportation to Turkey at the Turkish government’s request since he was working for institutions linked to the faith-based Gülen movement, which Ankara accuses of masterminding a failed coup last summer.
UN officials stopped his deportation minutes before he was to be put on a plane by Azerbaijan police at the Baku airport after his family applied for UN protection for Şentürk, his wife said.
However, Azerbaijani police took Şentürk to an unknown place and his family has not been informed of his whereabouts.
“I have not heard anything from my husband for the last two days. I worry for his life,” Fatma Şentürk said.
Calling on international human rights organizations, including the European Court of Human Rights and the UN, Fatma Şentürk said “Please help us to save my husband’s life.”
This is not the first time a foreign country has detained or deported people over their links to the Gülen movement as part of the Turkish government’s witch-hunt against movement followers.
In May Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Georgia and Myanmar handed over academics, businessmen and school principals upon the Turkish government’s request despite the fact that some of those victims already had refugee status with the UN.
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 movement of masterminding the attempt.
The movement and Fethullah Gülen, a US-based Islamic scholar whose views inspired the movement, strongly denies any involvement.
President Erdoğan earlier called on foreign governments to punish Gülen followers in their own countries.