Orhan İnandı, a Turkish-Kyrgyz educator who was kidnapped in Kyrgyzstan on May 31 and illegally brought to Turkey by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in July, revealed during a court hearing that a statement previously given to the police was false because he had spoken under torture by security officers, the Demirören news agency reported on Thursday.
İnandı, who testified as a witness in the trial of Şükrü Yıldırır on Thursday, said during a hearing at the İstanbul 24th High Criminal Court that a statement he had given to the police after he was illegally brought to Turkey accusing Yıldırır of managing Gülen movement activities in İstanbul’s Beşiktaş district was false due to being taken under torture.
“I don’t recognize the defendant. I don’t remember what I said. I had given my statement under torture. I don’t remember the name [Şükrü Yıldırır]. I consider FETÖ to be a faith-based movement. I don’t see it as a terrorist organization,” İnandı said.
According to Demirören, the court on Thursday ruled to release Yıldırır.
FETÖ is a derogatory term coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to refer to the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization.
Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group that focuses on science education, volunteerism, community involvement, social work and interfaith and intercultural dialogue that is inspired by the teachings of Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.
Erdoğan on July 4 acknowledged that İnandı was abducted by Turkish spies and brought to Turkey, praising their efforts in the rendition. İnandı, who had lived in Kyrgyzstan for nearly 30 years, was arrested on July 12 on charges of membership in a terrorist organization due to his links to the movement.
Based on the state-run Anadolu news agency’s video of İnandı with a Turkish flag on either side while covering his rendition on July 4, Solidarity with OTHERS, a nongovernmental organization that mainly consists of political exiles from Turkey, claimed the educator had been subjected to torture.
Reyhan İnandı, the educator’s wife, confirmed the claims, saying that her husband’s right arm had been broken in three places by Turkish security officers. She added that İnandı hadn’t received timely medical treatment and as a result hadn’t been able to use his right arm for nearly five months.