A Turkish national who was illegally brought to Turkey from Tajikistan has been detained due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the Bold Medya news website.
Emsal Koç, who went missing in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on June 2, was found to be in police custody in the eastern Turkish province of Erzurum when the police contacted his family living in the province.
According to Bold, Koç had been living in Tajikistan since 1994 and had worked at a school affiliated with the Gülen movement, a faith-based group accused by the Turkish government of “terrorist” activities, prior to 2017.
His wife, Firuza Khudoidodova, told Bold that he was forced to get into a black car by three men when he left the warehouse where he had been working since 2017.
Koç, accompanied by Tajik police, was also seen at the airport in Dushanbe the same day, according to Khudoidodova.
Khudoidodova said she would share video footage and other evidence revealing this illegal act to local and UN authorities in Tajikistan.
Since a coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has employed extralegal methods to secure the return of its critics after its official extradition requests are denied.
Most recently, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in its first resolution condemning all forms of transnational repression as a growing threat to the rule of law and human rights revealed the tactics of countries including Turkey to suppress their critics abroad.
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 renditioned from multiple states to Turkey.
Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) confirmed in its annual report that it had conducted operations for the forcible return of more than 100 people with alleged links to the Gülen movement.
“… [M]ore than 100 members of the [Gülen movement] from different countries were brought to Turkey as a result of the [agency’s] increased operational capacity abroad,” MİT’s 2022 report said.
Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric 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. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following the abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding, a charge that Gülen strongly denies.
Former Vice President Fuat Oktay said in a speech in parliament that Turkish agents had conducted “diplomacy” with their counterparts in countries where Turkish nationals were abducted.
An SCF report, released in October 2021 and titled “Turkey’s Transnational Repression: Abduction, Rendition and Forcible Return of Erdoğan Critics,” focused on how the Turkish government under President Erdoğan has used extrajudicial and illegal methods for the forcible transfer to Turkey of its citizens abroad.
In several of these 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.