U.N. report condemns Turkey’s increasing transnational transfers, abductions
A United Nations working group has condemned Turkey in its latest report on enforced disappearances over what it called illegal transnational transfers carried out under the guise of anti-terror operations.
The annual report by the bloc’s Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) addresses enforced disappearances, abductions, deportations, expulsions and forced returns, which it said had increased rapidly in Turkey following the failed coup attempt of July 2016.
Presented at the at 48th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council from September 13- October 1, the report listed Turkey as being home to more than half of the past year’s enforced disappearances across a wide swathe of countries across the world.
Turkey, which has a long history of state-sponsored abductions and enforced disappearances, has registered a surge in such incidents since the failed putsch, which the government blames on the Gülen movement, an outlawed religious group that follows U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Gülen denies the allegations.
Ankara has carried out a years-long crackdown on members of the group, including intelligence-led abductions of alleged Gülenists, who have fled the country.
The Justice Ministry in July announced that over 100 alleged Gülenists had been forcefully returned to Turkey in operations involving Turkish intelligence services abroad since the failed putsch, TRT network reported.
Eighty-five cases involving Turkey currently remain outstanding, the report said.
The UN report cited two cases over the past year – that of Selahaddin Gülen, a Turkish national abducted in Kenya and Orhan İnandi, a Turkish -Kyrgyz educator who was abducted from Kyrgyzstan.
“The deprivation of liberty of individuals and, for whatever purpose or duration and in whatever context, constitutes an enforced disappearance, in violation of jus cogens norms of international human rights law,” the report said, highlighting that forced disappearances are a crime against humanity.
The Working Group urged Ankara to prevent and terminate enforced disappearances, as stipulated in article 2 of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.