Berlin, June 1, 2021
With this statement we would like to inform you about the recent abduction cases of civilians of Turkish origin abroad by the Turkish Intelligence Service. Since the coup attempt in July 2016, the Turkish government has repeatedly attempted to intimidate or even eliminate supporters of the global Hizmet movement (“Gülen movement”) and opponents of the Erdogan regime through illegal means. Even abroad, Turkish intelligence has not shied away from kidnapping civilians.
The most recent cases of such abductions are Selahaddin Gülen and Orhan İnandi. On the morning of June 1, Orhan İnandı, the founder and president of the Turkish-Kyrgyz Sapat School Network operating in Kyrgyzstan, was abducted from his personal passenger car outside his own home. İnandı was last contacted by his family at 6 p.m. Monday. His car was found near his house with the doors open. His family immediately informed Kyrgyz police about the teacher’s disappearance and called for an urgent investigation.
In Kyrgyzstan, the Sapat network has been active in Kyrgyz education since 1992. Today, 30 percent of the school network’s shares belong to the Kyrgyz Republic. Within the school network there are 16 high schools, one international university, one international school and three elementary school.
İnandı had been working in Kyrgyzstan since 1995 and had been the president of the school network since 2001. According to the Sapat Schools, İnandı received the title of “Excellence in Education of the Kyrgyz Republic” and the Honorary Diploma of the Kyrgyz Republic in 2002, and the Medal of Gratitude of the Kyrgyz Republic in 2003 for his contribution to the improvement of the education system in the country. İnandı also holds citizenship of the Kyrgyz Republic.
According to İnandı’s family, there are reportedly two planes waiting at the airport in Bishkek and the Uzbek capital Tashkent that are not on the flight lists of any of the airlines operating at those airports, raising suspicions that these planes could be used to return the teacher to Turkey.
In early May, Erdoğan made a public rally that notable arrests would be made in a timely manner. According to a recent Freedom House report on global transnational repression, Turkey is the number one country that has conducted renditions from host states since 2014. The Turkish government has been persecuting its perceived enemies in at least 30 different countries across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia since July 2016. “Ankara’s campaign has primarily targeted people associated with religious leader Fethullah Gülen’s movement, which the government blames for the coup attempt,” the report states.
We hereby wish to create public awareness of human rights violations in the form of illegal abductions and kidnappings of people outside Turkey and welcome all forms of support and solidarity.