Teachers who are fleeing Ankara to be deported from Germany to Bulgaria fear a possible extradition by Sofia

A German court has rejected the asylum applications of two Turkish teachers who worked at schools of the Gülen movement in Vietnam and decided to deport them to Bulgaria, where they are threatened with extradition to Turkey, reported the Turkish Minute, citing the news site Bold Medya.

Jülide Çetin and Şeyma Demirel, who worked as English teachers at the Horizon International Bilingual School in Hanoi, came to Germany on June 18 with a Schengen visa issued by Bulgaria and applied for asylum there. They are detained at the airport for 36 days and say they are waiting for their deportation in four or five days.

Teachers claim they are not safe in Bulgaria as the country has deported at least seven asylum seekers with ties to the Gülen movement to Turkey, where they have been prosecuted.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has targeted supporters of the Gülen movement since the corruption investigation from December 17 to 25, 2013, which affected then Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his closest circle.

Erdoan dismissed the investigation as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, labeled the movement a terrorist organization and began targeting its members. He tightened the crackdown on the movement after the attempted coup on July 15, 2016, which he accused Gülen of the wire puller.

The teachers said they went to Germany because they were not safe in Vietnam after the Turkish secret service illegally transferred supporters of the Gülen movement from neighboring countries Thailand, Malesia, Myanmar and Indonesia.

In the past five years, numerous people alleged by Turkish authorities to have links to the Gülen movement have been arbitrarily arrested in countries around the world and deported to Turkey. They are detained there on false terrorism charges that violate the rights and protection of due process.

A recent Freedom House report on transnational repression states that Turkey has become the number one country to perform host renditions since 2014. The Turkish government has persecuted its supposed enemies in at least 30 host countries in America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia since July 2016.

“Ankara’s campaign has primarily been directed against people linked to the movement of religious leader Fethullah Gülen, which the government blames for the attempted coup,” the report said.

Accordingly a joint letter from four UN rapporteurs Dated May 2020, kidnappings carried out by M MayT tend to follow a similar pattern. After Turkey failed to obtain a legal extradition, the authorities resort to illegal covert operations. Targeted individuals are “monitored around the clock, followed by house searches and arbitrary arrests in covert operations by plainclothes police or intelligence officers,” the letter said.

Once arrested, the victim is forcibly placed in an unmarked vehicle, after which he or she can be forcibly disappeared up to several weeks before deportation.

“During this time, they are often subjected to coercion, torture and degrading treatment in order to obtain their consent to voluntarily return and to obtain confessions that would inform law enforcement upon arrival in Turkey,” the letter said.

Turkish activists tend to use a variety of torture methods to obtain these forced confessions, including food and sleep deprivation, waterboarding, electric shocks and beatings, the rapporteurs wrote in the letter based on personal testimonies.

“This is linked to threats to the life, safety and personal integrity of family members and relatives,” said the UN rapporteurs.

Case of Abdullah Büyük

Businessman Abdullah Büyük, who was prosecuted in Turkey for Gülen connections, moved to Bulgaria in 2016, thinking that the country would be safe for him as an EU member state.

Bulgarian courts rejected an extradition request from Turkey for Büyük. However, the Turkish Foreign Minister publicly announced that he would bring “a person of interest” back from Bulgaria.

On the way to a meeting in Sofia, the police blocked Buyuk’s vehicle. Bulgarians drove it 180 miles to the border, where they handed it over to the Turkish authorities.

In a report on Turkey by the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, MEPs strongly condemned “the forced extraditions, kidnappings and kidnapping of Turkish nationals who are outside of Turkey solely on the basis of their alleged links with the Gülen movement” and urged the European Union to address the “worrying” practice in its own Member States, particularly in Bulgaria.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday that Bulgaria violated the rights of a Turkish journalist who fled Ankara’s crackdown on dissidents by deporting him without examining his asylum application.

The ECHR stated that Bulgaria violated Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered the payment of 15,000 euros as non-pecuniary damages to the complainant. D, whose name has not been disclosed.

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