On May 31, Orhan Inandi left home at around eight in the afternoon. According to his wife, he was going to a meeting at a cafe near his home, located in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. 11 days later, Inandi has not returned and no one knows for sure his whereabouts. However, all eyes are on the Turkish embassy, where family, friends and supporters have gathered from the day after his disappearance on suspicion of his kidnapping.
“I called him, but he did not answer. It got very late and I began to physically look for him around one thirty in the morning,” Reyhan Inandi, the wife of the disappeared, tells elDiario.es. His brother, son and a family friend joined the search. Soon after, Orhan’s car was found abandoned about seven kilometers from home. It was open and had a flat tire. That same night, the Kyrgyz authorities began their search.RELATED
Orhan Inandi is a Turkish citizen who has lived in Kyrgyzstan for 26 years and obtained the nationality of the country in 2012. He is the founder of the Sapat school network, a conglomerate of 25 educational institutions associated with the followers of the preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan accuses of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt that ended with approximately 265 dead, according to official figures.
Since then, the Erdogan government has launched a secret operation to detain members of the Gulen Movement abroad and take them illegally to Turkey in a program similar to the terrorist rendition program deployed by the US after the September 11 attacks. 2001. In this case, when the targets step on Turkish soil, the Government confirms its participation and the leadership of the Turkish secret services, MIT.
Reyhan Inandi is convinced that her husband is locked up in the embassy. “It is more than a rumor. I cannot reveal his identity, but sources inside and outside the embassy have told us that he is there. It is most likely and we have reason to believe it,” he says. The NGO Turkey Tribunal, led by former Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Johan Vande Lanotte, also claims to have received evidence that Inandi is locked up in the embassy.
“We follow with great concern Turkey’s illegal kidnapping of Turkish professor Orhan Inandi in Kyrgyzstan for links to the Gulen Movement,” Fulvio Martusciello has stated, Italian MEP of the European People’s Party and president of the EU Parliamentary Cooperation committees with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. “Turkey must refrain from any attempt to deport him. We call on the Kyrgyz authorities to take all possible measures to ensure his release.” In case of being in the embassy, the Kyrgyz authorities cannot enter the diplomatic mission if it is not with Turkish authorization.
Members of the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry have met in recent days with the Turkish ambassador to the country. “The ambassador denied the statements of Orhan Inandi’s wife and said they were not true,” said Kyrgyz Deputy Foreign Minister Aibek Artykbaev. In this context, on Tuesday, when Orhan had been missing for eight days, the Erdogan government announced a visit to Turkey by Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov for the following day.
“President Khaparov asked his colleague Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Orhan Inandi, who has disappeared in Kyrgyzstan. Erdogan has replied that he does not know him, that he has no information and that he does not want to hear anything from people who support FETO. [nombre que utiliza el Gobierno de Turquía para calificar de terrorista a los seguidores de Gulen]”, The Kyrgyz President’s spokesman told the 24.kg news agency on Thursday. That same day, Erdogan affirmed in the joint press conference that both leaders discussed “the issues of the fight against terrorism, including FETO.”
Reyhan Inandi says that after the 2016 coup attempt her husband became a “number one target of the Government of Turkey.” “We have long been falsely accused by the Turkish government for our affiliation with the Gulen Movement,” he says. A school teacher who prefers not to reveal his identity says: “Turkey tried several times last year to have the Kyrgyz authorities extradite our staff, but fortunately they did not. We are afraid of the future of our schools here.”
“I can’t do anything if he is eventually deported,” Reyhan says. “We would not be going through this if Turkey were a rule of law, but since it is not, I cannot fight for it using the legal route.” The NGO Human Rights Watch has also denounced the case
Inandi’s disappearance clearly coincides with a pattern of behavior by Turkey against its Gulenist enemies abroad. A year ago the UN special rapporteurs on involuntary disappearances; human rights of migrants; promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the fight against terrorism; and about torture wrote a letter to the Erdogan government expressing concern at “what appears to be a systematic practice of extraterritorial kidnappings and forced returns of Turkish nationals from multiple countries.”
“In 2017, the Turkish intelligence agency (MIT) allegedly created a department to carry out operations abroad, which the government is believed to have allocated $ 5 million to allegedly be used to pay various criminal groups or illegal in exchange for achieving the stated objectives, “the letter says.
Normally, the targets disappear in their countries of residence and reappear hours later already detained in Turkey once the operation has concluded. If Inandi’s disappearance is part of this type of operation, something seems to have gone wrong in Turkey. A similar situation occurred in Mongolia in 2018, when Veysel Akçay, another director of schools related to the Gulen Movement, left home for school and was kidnapped.
“As soon as I went out into the street I saw two people approach me. You could tell they had no good intentions. I tried to escape, but couldn’t. They took me by the arms and led me to a car. I screamed for help. A woman was passing by. around there he made a video recording and notified the police, “he told elDiario.es. He says he spent several hours in the car. “All I thought was that they would take me to the Russian border and from there they would put me on a plane to deport me, but later I realized that we were circling the airport.”
Finally, Akçay’s kidnappers dropped him off near his home at around seven in the afternoon. During all those hours that he was missing, families, colleagues and supporters crowded the airport, where a suspicious plane from Turkey had landed. In fact, the Mongolian government banned the plane from taking off and the Foreign Minister noted that any deportation of Akçay would be an “unacceptable violation of Mongolia’s sovereignty and independence.”
Further investigation revealed that the plane, with registration TT4010, belonged to Birleşik İnşaat Turizm Ticaret ve Sanayi A.Ş, registered at 61 Ahmet Hamdi Street, in the Ankara suburb of Yenimahalle. This is precisely the location where members of the Turkish intelligence services, whose headquarters are also on the same street, are staying. The same company had another plane that just a month earlier had landed in Kosovo and, this time, it had managed to illegally deport six Turkish citizens – also teachers – who were later sentenced to prison.
Sometimes these operations are carried out with the support of some local authorities, but that does not make it legal. In June 2019, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Moldova for a March 2018 operation in which seven Turkish nationals working in one of the Gulen Movement-affiliated schools were illegally deported to Turkey.
“It is clear that the joint operation of the secret services of Moldova and Turkey had been prepared in advance before September 2018,” the ruling states. “The facts show that the operation was organized in such a way as to surprise the plaintiffs and that they had neither the time nor the possibility to defend themselves.”
“They were transferred directly to the airport, where a plane sent for the occasion was waiting for them and took them immediately to Turkey,” says the sentence. “The families knew nothing of their fate for several weeks.”
A few days before the operation against Inandi, a nephew of Fethullah Gulen himself was captured in Kenya and deported to Turkey in one of these operations. Erdogan sold the operation as the “capture of a very important member of FETO.”
Erdogan does not rest in his fight to dismantle the strong world structure of the Gulen Movement, whom he saw years ago as an ally, and is complying with the promise made by his spokesperson: “You will feel the breath of Turkey on your neck.”