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

Turkey asks imams abroad to profile Gülen-linked expatriates

A document dated Sept. 20, 2016 shows that Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) asked Turkish missions and religious representatives abroad to profile Gülen movement expatriates living in their respective foreign countries.

Opinion: Does the Turkish Intelligence Agency Plan to Abduct Turkish Dissidents from the US?

When it comes to conducting abduction operations in the U.S. soil Erdogan regime may receive help from his new allies, Russia and Iran. It is a fact that Erdogan has a deeply seeded network of Muslim institutions inside the United States.

Turkey’s anti-Gulen crackdown continues with Yemeni students after Nigerians

Turkish authorities have deported 5 Yemeni students at official universities which the authorities have recently shut down for links with US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen. Tens of Yemeni students in Turkey are facing the risk of deportation for being students at universities administered by Fethullah Gulen’s movement.

Celebrating Ramadan with Turkish asylum seekers

Haldun and his wife, Funda, fled Turkey about two years ago with their three daughters and are now seeking political asylum in the United States because if they go back to Turkey they face arrest and likely torture. Once a successful manufacturer of washing machine products, Haldun, Funda and their children are now a family without a country; their factory turned over to a government trustee, their passports taken away, and their property and belongings nationalized.

Turkish school graduates in Bosnia now teachers at alma maters

Ten graduates of Turkish schools in Bosnia, which were opened right after the Bosnian war and are among the top educational institutions in the country, are now working as teachers at the schools they attended as students, the Anatolia news agency has reported.

Germany: Turkish Intel’s spy list may be deliberate provocation

Germany’s interior minister said Thursday that Turkey’s intelligence agency may have given its German counterpart a list of suspected supporters of a U.S.-based cleric to “provoke us in some way.”

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

Who put those 4.5 million dollars there?

Abant Platform: perspectives on Turkey

Erdogan’s Journey – Conservatism and Authoritarianism in Turkey

Turkish coup attempt: who is Fethullah Gülen?

Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu helps the homeless after floods in Zimbabwe

Kimse Yok Mu to stop beggary in Sakarya, Turkey

Kimse Yok Mu repeatedly prevented from offering aid in Palestine

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News