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

Six Turks arrested in Kosovo over Gulen links extradited to Turkey

Six Turkish nationals arrested in Kosovo over links to schools financed by the Fethullah Gulen movement that Ankara blames for a failed 2016 coup have been extradited to Turkey.

Neither Erdoğan nor EU the same after five years

Erdoğan is going to Brussels as the prime minister of Turkey who doesn’t even have ambassadors in three of its region’s important capital; Cairo, Tel Aviv and Damascus. A negotiation chapter was opened in November 2013 after a three-year freeze. Erdoğan had to sack the former EU minister from the cabinet because of the allegations in relation with a major graft probe in December 2013 and appointed Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to that post.

Wife of veteran who lost hand, eyes in bomb attack under custody over Gülen links

Özlem Konakçı, the wife of former bomb disposal expert Bilal Konakçı, was detained over her alleged links to the Gülen movement. Bilal was retired from his position at İzmir Police Department after he lost his right hand and both eyes while trying to dispose of a bomb in 2009.

Lawyers confirm: Turkish teachers are still in Kosovo

Lawyers representing six Turkish teachers who were arrested in Kosovo on Thursday, have released a written statement in which they confirmed that the teachers have not been deported to Turkey yet.

Erdogan’s Purge Stretches All The Way To Pakistan

Outside the Karachi Press Club, Turkish residents release doves as a sign of peace; 25 Turkish teachers plea for safety in Pakistan. These Turkish families have lived here for over two decades, teaching at a network of international schools led by Fethullah Gülen, a moderate Islamic cleric from Turkey, who currently lives in the US.

17,000 women, 515 babies in Turkish prisons: SCF report

Thousands of women in Turkey, many with small children, have been jailed in an unprecedented crackdown and subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention centers and prisons as part of the government’s systematic campaign of intimidation and persecution of critics and opponents, a new report has revealed.

Latest News

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

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

In Case You Missed It

Politically motivated police raid of kindergarten in west Turkey

Turkey’s war on the press

Twitter users protest plan to close prep schools in Turkey

34 housewives arrested over Gülen links in İstanbul

Erdoğan calls for expanded witch hunt against Gülen followers

Kazakh President congratulated ‘Katev’ Foundation on 20th anniversary

Erzurum people call Minister Ala to apologize Gülen for his remarks

Copyright 2020 Hizmet News