UN Concerned About Albanian Deportations of Turkish ‘Gulenists’

Alleged Gulenist Selami Simsek in Court in Tirana. Photo: LSA
Alleged Gulenist Selami Simsek in Court in Tirana. Photo: LSA


Date posted: May 27, 2020

Gjergj Erebara

United Nations human rights officials expressed concern about the Albanian authorities’ treatment of two Turks wanted by Ankara, one of whom was rapidly expelled while the other awaits deportation in custody.

Five United Nations human rights officials have sent a letter to the government of Albania to raise the cases of Harun Celik, a Turkish citizen who was deported from Albania to Turkey in January, and Selami Simsek, who is currently awaiting deportation in a closed migrant centre.

Both men are alleged by Turkish authorities to be members of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement, which Ankara alleges is a terrorist organisation responsible for a failed coup plot in Turkey in 2016.

The letter from the UN officials, which was published on Tuesday in Albanian media but written on March 20, warned that Simsek’s rights could be violated if he is sent to Turkey.

It says that Simsek “is likely to face detention, prosecution and, potentially, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, for his perceived or imputed affiliation to the Hizmet/Gulen movement”.

Simsek was initially arrested at Tirana Airport and served time for using falsified travel documents. He was released from prison on March 9, but for reasons that remain unclear, police kept him for several hours in a civilian car before transferring him to a closed centre for illegal emigrants near Tirana.

His supporters claim that that several high-level government officials demanded that an immediate expulsion order be issued.

His laywer, Elton Hyseni, told BIRN on Tuesday that he has not yet received any official information about the case.

“We do not yet know whether his request for asylum has been accepted or not. [The authorities] have not explained why they are keeping him in the closed migration centre,” Hyseni said.

Albanian government spokesperson Endri Fuga did not reply to BIRN’s request for a comment by the time of publication.

The letter from the five UN officials also questioned Albania’s deportation of Celik to Turkey.

“We are equally concerned that Mr. Celik appears to have been expelled for his alleged connection to Hizmet/Gulen movement, reportedly without any due process guarantees afforded by relevant legislation,” it says.

Albanian police put Celik on a plane to Istanbul on January 1 despite his pleas for asylum. He had been a teacher in a Gulen-linked school in Kazakhstan, then attempted to escape to Canada using a false visa. He was arrested in Albania in 2018 and served time for falsifying travel documents.

His extradition to Turkey was described as a major human rights violation by the Albanian opposition, which linked the unusually prompt decision by police to send him to Turkey with the friendly connections between Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The letter to the Albanian government was signed by Luciano Hazan, chair-rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Leigh Toomey, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Felipe González Morales, special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, and Nils Melzer, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Source: Balkan Insight , May 26, 2020


Related News

Letter campaign launched for Turkey’s imprisoned women, mothers

In the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, more than 17,000 women from all walks of life including teachers, doctors and housewives have been jailed in Turkey on coup charges in government-led operations. There are currently more than 700 children accompanying their mothers in Turkish jails.

Accused Turkish Cleric Assails President on Anniversary of Coup Attempt in WSJ Interview

Fethullah Gulen repeated his declaration that he has never been involved in any coup-plotting. “I never thought that he could go so bad,” said Mr. Gulen, who said that the Turkish president was unleashing mass hysteria inside the country. “Some parts of Turkish society have lost their ability to think.”

German view of Hizmet Movement (2)

Seufert writes the Hizmet movement has arrived in Germany 30 years late, homed in on schooling and education rather than mosques; and that, currently, the number of schools and education centers has reached 24 and 300 respectively. “Gulen Movement is not a threat in Europe. If it was to pose any form of threat, it would be to its members who submit to authoritarian bodies. Yet, there has been no example of anyone forced to stay within the body against his/her will.”

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

Turkey’s purge of academics has already harmed the reputation of its higher education sector, the latest Free to Think report from the New York-based Scholars at Risk (SAR) noted adding that it risks greater damage by isolating Turkish scholars, students, and institutions from the international flow of ideas and talent.

The Failed Military Coup In Turkey & The Mass Purges: A Civil Society Perspective

Both Turkish society and the world celebrated the fact that an anti-democratic intervention in the government was prevented. Turkish government has every right to pursue plotters within the law. The actions of President Erdogan’s government in the immediate aftermath of the coup, however, constitute a mass purge rather than a proper investigation.

Woman with soft tissue tumor held in Ankara prison for 8 months: report

Seynur Özdemir, a Turkish woman from Ankara, suffers from soft tissue sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that begins in the tissues that connect, support and surround other body structures. She however has been held in Ankara’s Sİncan prison since June 2019 on terror and coup charges.

Latest News

Crimes Against Humanity in Erdogan’s Turkey

Exiled journalist warns of a genocide in the making in newly released book

Vague terrorism charge used to target supporters of the Gülen movement: UN special rapporteurs

ECtHR urges Albania not to deport Gülen follower to Turkey

Woman detained over links to Gülen movement after giving birth

Formerly Gülen-linked schools in Albania face growing gov’t pressure

Exclusive: Turkey, Kosovo violated fundamental rights of expelled teachers, UN body says

Sacked policeman’s grim death sparks debate on COVID-19 data in Turkish prisons

Dissidents of the Turkish government are living in fear in Canada

In Case You Missed It

Gülen urges Hizmet members to defend prep schools in civilized way

Fethullah Gulen’s “old friend” detained by İzmir police despite suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease

Fethullah Gulen — His Vision, Our Response

Atyrau Kazakh-Turk High Schools celebrates its 20th anniversary

Is [Erdogan’s] Maarif Foundation capable of delivering quality education?

Fatih University graduates receive Feb. 28-like treatment at İstanbul University

Kimse Yok Mu extends help to refugees trying to reach Europe

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News