LONDON – 30 March 2018
We write to kindly request urgent action from MPs, MEPs, heads of European missions, human rights organizations and members of the press regarding detentions yesterday (29 March 2018) in the early morning in KOSOVO of Turkish nationals 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 and their prospective extradition to Turkey.
Kosovan online media has reported yesterday that six Turkish nationals who have legal residence in the country have been detained by Kosovan police on demands of the Turkish regime and that the operations are continuing on against other Turkish nationals alleged to be affiliated with the Gulen Movement. News that came from Turkish and Kosovan sources claimed the following:
- That the six were detained in a joint operation of the Kosovan Intelligence and the Turkish Intelligence (MIT).
- That the Kosovan Interior Minister Mr. Flamur Sefaj informed the public about the cancellation of the residence permits of the six without any legal procedure.
- That the six were initially brought to the Turkish Embassy in Pristina and later to the Adem Jashari Pristina International Airport to be deported to Turkey without any trial and any contact between the detained and their lawyers.
- That Kosovan Prime Minister Mr. Ramush Haradinaj informed the public that he was not informed about this operation and that he would “act according to my legal and constitutional competencies.”
- That Kosovan President Hashim Thaçi told the press that “Today we are disappointed because our relevant institutions, for reasons that remain to be clarified to the end, have failed to defend these principles related to the human rights of foreign citizens who live and work in our country.”
- That Kosovan Interior Minister Mr. Flamur Sefaj and Kosovan Intelligence Chief Mr. Driton Gashi were sacked from their positions due to their collaboration with a foreign power and their failure to inform their superiors on such a controversial operation.
- That Kosovan Prime Minister Mr. Ramush Haradinaj informed the National Assembly that the six Turkish nationals were deported to Turkey in midday 29 March 2018.
- That Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a group of provincial heads of his party that the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT) “in collaboration with the Kosovan Intelligence took over six highest ranking representatives of FETO in Balkans, brought them to Turkey and handed over to the police.”
The following points are clear from these public statements:
- That the detentions of Turkish nationals in Kosovo were a joint operation of the Turkish and Kosovan intelligence agencies.
- That neither the President, not the Prime Minister of Kosovo was informed about the operations.
- That the Turkish Embassy in Pristina was used as a headquarter for operation and transportation of the detainees to the airport, proving the involvement of the Turkish ambassador to Kosovo in the operation.
- That the detainees were not given a right to speak to their lawyers, their whereabouts were not told to their relatives and lawyers and no legal procedure was followed.
- That the Kosovan State is annoyed at the highest level with the involvement of Turkish intelligence agents in an operation in its territories.
Still, one crucial information that is confirmed by both the Turkish leader and the Kosovan prime minister needs to be questioned here. According to Kosovan local media basing their news on “insiders’ information” the two Turkish nationals are still being held at the Turkish Embassy and two are held at the Adem Jashari Airport in Pristina. This news does not clarify the whereabouts of the sixth Turkish national. Still, the lawyers and relatives of the detained Turkish nationals believe that a bargaining between the Kosovan and Turkish leadership is continuing and by way of claiming that the deportation has already taken place both leaderships are trying to create a fait accompli.
The six Turkish nationals detained up until now are, Mr. Mustafa Erdem, general director of Mehmet Akif College run by Turkish businesspeople in Kosovo, Mr. Yusuf Karabina, deputy director of the same school, Mr. Kahraman Demirez, director of the Djakovica branch of the school, Mr. Cihan Ozkan, a biology teacher, Mr. Hasan Huseyin Gunakan a chemistry teacher from the same school and Prof. Osman Karakaya, a Turkish medical doctor apparently staying in the country as a tourist. Mr. Mustafa Erdem also carries an Albanian citizenship.
Turkey Institute is concerned that;
- The number and extent of detentions may increase in the coming days as already hinted by Kosovan police and UN sources in the country;
- The detainees may be subjected to unnecessary interrogation and extradition to Turkey where their chances of receiving a fair trial are very dim if they are not already deported to Turkey;
- The Kosovan authorities may be under extreme pressure from Turkey to further their cooperation and not do any official complaint about the Turkish involvement in an operation within the Kosovan soil.
- The family members of the detained may also be detained and extradited to Turkey.
In line with these concerns, as Turkey Institute we call;
- All relevant parties, human rights organizations and concerned individual to contact and advice the Kosovan leadership to respect human rights and the rule of law;
- All relevant parties to encourage the Kosovan leadership to officially complain about the involvement of Turkish ambassador and intelligence agents in an operation infringing the sovereignty rights of the Kosovan people on Kosovan soil and their attempt to by-pass Kosovan legal apparatus.
- All relevant parties to encourage member countries of the European Union to invite the Turkish ambassadors in their capitals and ask for a legitimate and acceptable explanation of the Turkish involvement in profiling, detention and forceful disappearance of law-abiding residents of a European country, without even filing a legal extradition request about these people to the Kosovan authorities.
- Kosovan authorities to continue their courageous move of sacking the interior minister and intelligence chief and investigate all involved Turkish and Kosovan individuals and refer the case to the Kosovan courts.
- Kosovan authorities to weigh the possibility of deporting all Turkish intelligence agents and the Turkish ambassador who are involved in this act of piracy in their territory.
Due to the Easter season, it is understandable that most of the offices of the concerned parties won’t be able to provide logistics of communication to those who may wish to state their concerns to the Kosovan leadership. Hence, we provide the contact information of the relevant offices here:
CONTACT WITH THE KOSOVAN CABINET
Senior Executive Officer
Tel: +381 (38) 200-12503
Senior Executive Officer
Tel: +381 (38) 200-12015
Arlinda Ramadani Selimi
Senior Executive Officer
Tel: +381 (38) 200-12054
CONTACT WITH THE PROTOCOL OF THE KOSOVAN PRESIDENT
Tel: + 381 (38) 211 650 ext. (200)12 503; 12 002
Fax: 038 211 651
CONTACT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION
Tel: +381 38 212 460
Office: C- 405- A
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Att. Leo Trim Syla
Lawyer of the detained Turkish nationals
Tel: +377 442 702 40
About Turkey Institute
Turkey Institute is a London-based centre of research, analysis, and discussion on Turkey. It aims to offer high-quality analysis of the society and state in Turkey with special emphasis on domestic & foreign policy and the economy and to provide objective updates and organise high-level discussions on current issues, especially in relation to democratic governance, human rights, the rule of law and constitutional reform. For more information, please visit https://www.turkeyinstitute.org.uk.