President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 5 said Turkish intelligence agents abducted a Turkish-Kyrgyz educator whose disappearance from Bishkek last month triggered protests and concern about the man’s safety.
Orhan Inandi, the head of Sapat educational network in Kyrgyzstan, went missing in the Kyrgyz capital late on May 31 under mysterious circumstances. His car was found in downtown Bishkek early the next day with the doors wide open and valuable items still inside. His wife suggested he was being held at the Turkish Embassy. The Turkish government accuses Inandi of links to the Gulen movement, which it considers a terrorist organization responsible for a failed 2016 coup attempt. Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said the country’s MIT intelligence agency had captured Inandi and brought him to Turkey.
“As a result of genuine and patient work, MIT has brought a top Central Asian leader of FETO, Orhan Inandi, to our country to face justice,” Erdogan said, using the acronym FETO to describe the Gulen movement.
He added that to date more than 100 people with alleged links to the Gulen movement have been abducted from countries around the world and brought to Turkey. National broadcaster TRT showed a picture of Inandi standing in handcuffs between two Turkish flags. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has determined in several cases that Turkey carried out illegal enforced disappearances, most prominently of six Turkish nationals who were abducted from Kosovo in 2018 for their alleged links to the Gulen movement.
Inandi, 53, has lived in Kyrgyzstan since 1995 and holds dual Turkish-Kyrgyz citizenship.
In June, Kyrgyzstan’s deputy foreign affairs minister, Aibek Artykbaev, told a parliament hearing that in 2019 the Turkish government had requested İnandi’s extradition. But the Kyrgyz government refused at that time because of Inandi’s Kyrgyz citizenship.
Following his disappearance, protests demanding an effective investigation took place almost daily in the Kyrgyz capital. Human Rights Watch said last month that if Inandi were returned to Turkey, he would face arbitrary detention and an unfair trial on terrorism charges, as well as possible ill-treatment and torture. During the past five years, Turkey has called on dozens of countries to shut down hundreds of schools and educational institutions linked U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, a friend-turned-foe of Erdogan whom Ankara blames for the deadly coup attempt. Gulen rejects the claim. Since the coup attempt, Turkish authorities have arrested tens of thousands of people for alleged links to the Gulen movement and carried out sweeping purges of the civil service and military.