A parliamentary committee in Kosovo, investigating the extralegal renditions of the six Turkish nationals concluded on Friday that Turkey circumvented the due process with the complicity of Kosovo authorities to abduct its citizens who were legally residing in the Balkan country.
In March 2018, Turkish intelligence service (MIT) detained the Turkish nationals as the then head of Kosovar intelligence agency (AKI), Driton Gashi, oversaw the extralegal operation,
according to the findings of the committee.
Six Turkish citizens were put on a plane back to Turkey without being able to legally contest the grounds of their deportation. They had alleged ties to the Gulen movement, led by the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of masterminding the failed 2016 coup. Gulen denies the allegations, and the US refused to extradite him, despite repeated requests by the Turkish government, citing lack of evidence linking him to the putsch.
Kosovo’s Prime Minister, parliament’s speaker, and the president have said that the rendition was conducted without their knowledge. However, the findings of the committee say the opposite, showing that the plot had been finalized seventeen days before the incident and the then Interior Minister was briefed on the matter.
The parliamentary committee’s findings put forth 31 legal or procedural breaches by the AKI,
Interior Ministry, and other bodies.
The US Embassy of Pristina issued a written statement on Monday, saying that they are
concerned regarding the susceptibility of Kosovar security forces to political manipulation
over the last year’s extrajudicial renditions.
The written statement continues calling on Kosovar authorities “to ensure full accountability for anyone violating the law” whilst reminding Kosovo leaders that “security institutions
must act only within their constitutional authority, subject to the rule of law.”
Following the statement of the US Embassy, the British Embassy shared a post on its Facebook account reading, “We fully support the US Embassy Pristina’s statement today on
expulsions of Turkish citizens last March. Kosovo institutions must be accountable and subject to the rule of law.”
Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey, Yavuz Selim Kiran, told reporters in February that MIT
“successfully” apprehended more than a hundred Gulen Movement affiliates and brought them back to Turkey.
A report titled #blacksitesturkey was presented to the Council of Europe in December 2018,
covering the extent of MIT’s international hijacking program.
Those who were detained by MIT are being taken to extrajudicial sites and are being
interrogated using various practices of physical and psychological torture, according to
testimonies of survivors.
“We will return those Gulenists who fled and who now think they are safe to the country
one-by-one, and we will hand them over to our justice system,” vowed Erdogan previously,
and his long arm has since fulfilled his vow.