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ERDOGAN DISSIDENTS FACE RISK OF ABDUCTION AND EXTRADITION

As it is known Turkish government has been taking strict measures to silence dissidents from various ideologies recently. Gulen Movement has been the main target of the government, which is a faith-based group of people engaging in different voluntary activities such as education, business and health. Alleged supporters of the Movement in Turkey have been dealing with arrest, imprisonment, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, confiscation and passport seizure. Regrettably, Turkish government’s actions against the Gulen Movement are not limited to Turkish borders but are also extraterritorial. There are many examples of abductions and physical violence incidents in several countries as well as threats by pro-government people referring to the supporters abroad. Individuals linked to the Movement cannot feel safe abroad either.

It is evident that the actions of the government have cross-border impacts putting even people abroad at risk. On March 29, 2018, Mr. Mustafa Erdem, Mr. Yusuf Karabina, Mr. Kahraman Demirez, Mr. Cihan Özkan, Mr. Hasan Hüseyin Günakan, employees of Turkish Educational Institutions in Kosovo and Prof. Osman Karakaya were arbitrarily detained in Kosovo and extradited back to Turkey by Turkish intelligence officers. All six Turkish nationals had legal residence in the country and were detained by Kosovo police on demands of the Turkish regime for being affiliated with the Hizmet Movement.

Hashim Thaci, President of Kosovo, told the press that he was disappointed because their relevant institutions have failed to defend principles related to human rights of foreign citizens who live and work in their Kosovo. Kosovo Prime Minister Mr. Ramush Haradinaj informed the public that he was not informed about this operation and that he would act according to his legal and constitutional competencies. Moreover, Kosovo’s foreign ministry strongly denounced the action, “the arrest and deportation of the Turkish citizens with a regular residence permit … is … in direct contradiction to international norms”. Kosovo Prime Minister sacked the Interior Minister Mr. Flamur Sefaj and Intelligence Chief Mr. Driton Gashio for their collaboration with a foreign power and their failure to inform their superiors on such a controversial operation.

President Erdogan is using mafia-like methods to govern the country. There are many cases of organized crimes in Turkey. Nonetheless, President Erdogan has on numerous occasions shown that his threats can be successful in smaller states. Since the failed coup attempt in 2016, Turkish government successfully abducted Hizmet sympathizers from Sudan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Georgia, Myanmar and Malaysia. Advocates of Silenced Turkey’s have released a comprehensive report on the current and possible threats supports of the Gulen Movement face abroad. Nonetheless, the US President Donald Trump’s ex-national security adviser Mike Flynn was alleged to accept the Turkish government’s offer of 15 million dollars in exchange for delivering Mr. Fethullah Gulen to Turkey while he was in office.

People that are perceived as linked to the Gulen Movement are justifiably right to be afraid of the possible incidents. Therefore, we kindly urge request governments and all relevant organizations to take all the necessary preemptive steps to ensure safety to these people before it is too late. Security officers must be aware of the potential risks. Officials working for the Turkish government abroad must be watched closely, they must be prevented if they are in preparation of any harm. Lastly, both individuals and organizations that are deemed to be Hizmet participants must be provided extra protection when there is an imminent risk targeting them.

For more detailed information about these risks supporters of the Gulen Movement experience, please look at the report prepared by the Advocates of Silenced Turkey on the current and possible threats supporters of the Gulen Movement face abroad titled “I Cannot Say We Are Absolutely Safe Even Abroad.”

Download the report as pdf: AST_Report_Threats_Gulen Movement

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement below to following relevant individuals and organizations.
Download sample statement:
AST Sample Letter regarding Abductions and Extradition of Erdogan dissidents abroad

If you have been receiving threats or feel threatened, please send an additional personal letter that describes your situation. Attached is a letter template that can be useful.
Download letter template as a word document:
AST_Letter Template_Risk of Abduction and Extradition

1) FBI and local FBI branches

FBI Headquarters
Address: 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
Phone: (202) 324-3000

Note: At this time FBI do not have a national e-mail address for public questions or comments. Some of their local FBI offices, however, do have their own e-mail addresses.

Find closest local FBI office:
https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices

2) Federal Representatives and Senators

Find your U.S. representative:
https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
Find your U.S. senators:
https://www.senate.gov/senators/

3) State Representatives and Senators

https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

4) Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and Ranking Member

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Committee Chairman
Address: 425 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20510
Phone: 202-224-3344
Fax: 423-756-2757
https://www.corker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/emailme

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, Ranking Member
Address: 528 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: 202-224-4744
Fax: 202-228-2197
https://www.menendez.senate.gov/contact

5) Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, U.S. Helsinki Commission

Address: 234 Ford House Building, 3rd and D Streets SW, Washington DC, 20515
Phone: 202-225-1901
FAX: 202-226-4199
EMAIL: INFO@CSCE.GOV
Twitter: @HelsinkiComm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helsinkicommission/

Chairman: Senator Roger F. Wicker
Address and Contact:
555 Dirksen 555 Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-6253 |Fax: (202) 228-0378 | Twitter: @SenatorWicker
Email: senator@wicker.senate.gov

Co-Chairman: Representative Christopher H. Smith
Washington DC Office: 2373 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3765 | Fax: (202) 225-7768 | Twitter: @RepChrisSmith
https://chrissmith.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm

6) Homeland Security

Address: The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security Washington, D.C. 20528
Email: DHSSecretary@hq.dhs.gov
Phone: 202-282-8000

7) U.S. Department of State
Email: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
Phone: (202) 647-6575
Twitter: @StateDept
Website: https://www.state.gov/