Lawyer shares photos of suspicious individuals around İnandı’s car, says former minister met him the night he disappeared

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Taalaygul Toktakunova, the attorney for the family of educator Orhan İnandı, who is allegedly being held against his will in the Turkish Embassy in Bishkek, on Wednesday shared records from a dashcam from İnandı’s car showing suspicious individuals who could have been involved in his disappearance, which occurred right after a meeting with a former minister who took a trip outside Kyrgyzstan soon after İnandı went missing, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

In a post on her Facebook page Toktakunova said Kyrgyz officials didn’t care to take a copy of the camera records, citing a police detective. “Apparently the interior ministry decided that it’s a better idea to search construction sites than look for witnesses or suspected kidnappers,” she added.

The photos are part of the latest records from the dashcam before İnandı went missing.

Speaking to the 24.kg news agency, Toktakunova also said İnandı had met with former interior minister Melis Turganbaev on the day he disappeared.

“Orhan İnandı and Melis Turganbaev met on May 31 at about 8:30 p.m. at a café,” she said. “It is known that the conversation lasted over an hour. We do not know what they discussed. I also don’t know whether the police contacted Turganbaev.”

Turganbaev confirmed that he did meet with İnandı on May 31. “Yes, we met at the Adriano café. I have known Orhan İnandı for over 20 years — since he opened the first Sapat school in the Sverdlovsky district of Bishkek,” he said.

“We have friendly relations, that day we were discussing the education system, I have an idea to open a business. I was there with my son. We talked for 30 minutes, drank tea and left.”

Turganbaev said he visited Georgia and Ukraine and returned to Kyrgyzstan on Monday.

İnandı, the founder and president of the Turkish-Kyrgyz Sapat school network operating in Kyrgyzstan, went missing in Bishkek on the evening of May 31 and is feared to have been abducted by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement.

İnandı’s car was found early on June 1 with doors open and valuables intact, suggesting this was not a case of robbery. Kyrgyz police started an investigation into İnandı’s disappearance on the same day, followed by an instruction from President Sadyr Japarov to the State Committee on National Security and the Interior Ministry to intensify the ongoing searches.

İnandı’s  wife, Reyhan İnandı, said in a June 6 statement that an undisclosed source told her that her husband was being held against his will at the Turkish Embassy, and she claimed he was being tortured to renounce his Kyrgyz citizenship. This would simplify İnandı’s forcible transfer to Turkey, she said.

Kyrgyzstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Aibek Artykbaev said he talked to Turkey’s Ambassador Ahmet Sadık Doğan, who denied the accusations.

“The ambassador denied the statement of Orhan İnandı’s wife. He said it was not true,” he said at a meeting of the parliamentary committee on law, order, combating crime and corruption.

Turkish intelligence has intensified its efforts to target dissidents abroad. Most recently a nephew living in Kenya of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen was abducted by Turkish spies and brought back to Turkey at the weekend, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

In a joint letter UN rapporteurs accused the Turkish government of engaging in the systematic practice of state-sponsored extraterritorial abductions and forcible returns to Turkey, with at least 100 Turkish nationals from multiple states including Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Gabon, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Pakistan removed to Turkey.

In a number of cases the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) concluded that the arrest, detention and forced transfer to Turkey of Turkish nationals were arbitrary and in violation of international human rights norms and standards.

A recent report by Freedom House on global transnational repression also revealed the intensity, geographic reach and suddenness of the Turkish government’s campaign targeting dissidents abroad, noting that Turkey has become number one among countries that have conducted renditions from host states since 2014.

According to the report, Ankara’s campaign has primarily targeted people affiliated with the Gülen movement, but the government has started applying the same tactics to Kurdish and leftist individuals living abroad.

The Freedom House report also indicated that the Turkish government has pursued its perceived enemies in at least 30 host countries spread across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia since a 2016 coup attempt.

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