Twenty-two members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have signed a statement calling on the Moldovan government to restore the rule of law, saying they were “deeply concerned by the lack of justice independence and subordination of justice to particular political interests” in the case of the abduction of seven Turkish teachers in Moldova on Sept. 6.
“One example is the latest abduction of seven Turkish teachers, asylum seekers in the Republic of Moldova, taken by force by the Moldovan Intelligence and Security Service [SIS] and delivered to Turkey for imprisonment,” the statement said.
“Moreover, the lack of guarantees against such abuses is aggravated by illegal interference of secret services which are guided by political forces,” it added.
Arrest warrants had been issued by Turkish authorities for the teachers, who were asylum seekers in Moldova, as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement after a 2016 coup attempt.
They were apprehended by the SIS on their way to the Orizont School, a Gülen-affiliated educational institution based in Moldova, where they worked as teachers, and were handed over to Turkish intelligence officers for deportation.
In March 2018 the general director of the schools, Turgay Şen, was detained by Moldovan security forces upon the Turkish government’s request for extradition but was released without charges.
Amnesty International’s Moldova office on Sept. 27 warned that more Gülen-linked teachers could become the subject of abductions.
The Turkish government has launched both a domestic and a global crackdown on the Gülen movement, accusing it of orchestrating a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.
As a result of the global witch-hunt, more than 100 Gülen-linked Turkish nationals were brought back to Turkey through intelligence service operations and with the cooperation of other countries, including Kosovo, Qatar, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Gabon and Myanmar.
The PACE members who signed the statement are as follows:
SCHENNACH Stefan, Austria
BARNETT Doris, Germany
BRANDT Michel, Germany
BRYNJÓLFSDÓTTIR Rósa Björk, Iceland
COAKER Vernon, United Kingdom
DOUBLE Steve, United Kingdom
DUNDEE Alexander, [The Earl of], United Kingdom
GORROTXATEGUI Miren Edurne, Spain
HEINRICH Gabriela, Germany
HUNKO Andrej, Germany
KAVVADIA Ioanneta, Greece
KOX Tiny, Netherlands
LOUCAIDES George, Cyprus
MADSEN Rasmus Vestergaard, Denmark
RAMPI Roberto, Italy
SANDBÆK Ulla, Denmark
SCHWABE Frank, Germany
SHEPPARD Tommy, United Kingdom
STROE Ionuț-Marian, Romania
ŞUPAC Inna, Republic of Moldova
SUTTER Petra, De, Belgium
ZINGERIS Emanuelis, Lithuania