According to a document obtained by Nordic Monitor, six opponents of the Turkish government who were abducted in Kosovo by the Turkish Intelligence Organization (MİT) in cooperation with Kosovo’s security forces and brought to Turkey in 2018 had previously been profiled by the Turkish Embassy.
According to a December 21, 2018 decision by prosecutor Adem Akıncı, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation (file no. 2018/43629) into nine Turkish nationals who were on a list dispatched by Turkish diplomats. Among these nine people are three of the six who were deported to Turkey, namely, Kahraman Demirez, Mustafa Erdem and Yusuf Karabina.Kosovo edited
In March 2018 six Turkish citizens residing in Kosovo were detained in an operation jointly carried out by the Kosovar police and MİT and taken to Turkey by a private jet operated by a front company owned by MİT. The incident sparked a crisis in Kosovo, with the prime minister saying he was not informed in advance of the operation, immediately sacking the interior minister and security chief.
Six people, including five teachers and one doctor, affiliated with the Gülen movement were arrested as soon as they were brought to Turkey and were handed down various sentences on conviction of membership in a “terrorist” organization in cases that were concluded in 2019.
Profiling files were conveyed to the foreign ministry by Kıvılcım Kılıç, the Turkish ambassador to Kosovo between 2015 and 2019. According to local sources in Kosovo, the Turkish Embassy was key to the logistics and planning of the abduction and served as a detention center for the operation. The Turkish nationals — Cihan Özkan, Kahraman Demirez, Hasan Hüseyin Günakan, Mustafa Erdem, Yusuf Karabina and Osman Karakaya — were kept for a time in the embassy chancery or at the residence of then-Turkish Ambassador Kılıç. It was alleged that MİT was instructed to kidnap five Turks but that Özkan was added to the list in Pristina by Ambassador Kılıç. The Cumhuriyet daily reported that pictures distributed by the state-run Anadolu news agency after their arrest were taken on the Turkish Embassy premises in Pristina.
Former Turkish Ambassador Kılıç was rewarded for her services in Kosovo by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who ironically appointed her as director-general for the Council of Europe and Human Rights at the foreign ministry.
In September 2020 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) stated that the arrest, detention and forced transfer to Turkey of the people by Kosovar and Turkish state agents were arbitrary and in violation of international human rights norms and standards, calling on Turkey for their immediate release.
In 2021 a court in Pristina accepted the indictment of three officials involved in the illegal deportation of the six Turks to Turkey: Driton Gashi, former head of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency; Valon Krasniqi, director of the Department of Citizenship and Migration at the Interior Ministry; and Rrahman Sylejmani, head of the Directorate of Migration and Foreigners in the Kosovo Border Police.
Nordic Monitor previously published a secret Turkish foreign ministry communiqué in which the Turkish Embassy in Kosovo profiled 78 people who had listed their profession as teacher when they made applications with the consulate for various citizen services.
Most recently educator Orhan İnandı, who was included in documents previously published by Nordic Monitor, was kidnapped in Kyrgyzstan on May 31 and illegally brought to Turkey by MIT. İnandı, who had lived in Kyrgyzstan for nearly 30 years, was arrested July 12 on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.
As previously disclosed by Nordic Monitor, the foreign ministry sent lists of profiled Turkish nationals in two CDs to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the national police and MIT on February 19, 2018 via an official document for further administrative or legal action, the punishment of their relatives back in Turkey and the seizure of their assets.mfa1
The public prosecutor who received the foreign ministry document on February 23, 2018 forwarded the classified CDs including information on 4,386 Erdoğan critics to the organized crimes unit of the Ankara Police Department for further action. The police conveyed the results of its investigations to the public prosecutor.
Critics of the Erdoğan government abroad, especially members of the Hizmet/Gülen movement, have been facing surveillance, harassment, death threats and abduction since President Erdoğan decided to scapegoat the group for his own legal troubles. They have often been denied consular services such as power of attorney and birth registry as well as having their passports revoked. Their assets in Turkey are seized and their family members at home risk criminal charges.