The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organization the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said on Thursday that 285 Turkish nationals who live in Pakistan are at risk of forcible repatriation, arbitrary arrest and other human rights abuses.
The statement came days after the deportation of the Kaçmaz family on Oct. 14 to Turkey over alleged links to the Gülen movement, which Turkish authorities blame for a failed coup last year.
In a statement on the FIDH website on Thursday, the rights groups called on the Pakistani government to ensure the protection of 285 Turkish nationals who are at risk of being deported to Turkey for their alleged links to the movement.
“The Pakistani government’s deportation of a Turkish family should set off alarm bells. The Pakistani government must ensure the protection of the other 285 individuals who risk being deported to Turkey and put an end to the blatant disregard of its international obligations,” Dimitris Christopolous, FIDH president said.
The statement said the 285 Turkish nationals, who formerly worked as teachers at Pak-Turk schools, and their families have been facing deportation to Turkey since November 2016 after the Pakistani government failed to extend their visas and ordered them to leave the country day before a visit to Pakistan by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“The 285 now live in fear of raids carried out by the Pakistani police and intelligence services in Pakistan. Should they be deported to Turkey, they are at high risk of arbitrary arrest, judicial harassment and detention upon arrival. Such detention may be accompanied by torture and other forms of ill-treatment. This occurs in the context of the Turkish government’s crackdown on teachers, journalists, academics, and human rights defenders in the aftermath of the July 2016 failed coup d’état in Turkey. Turkey has already succeeded in obtaining the forcible repatriation of teachers linked to the Pak-Turk schools from Malaysia, Myanmar, and Saudi Arabia,” the statement read.
Turkish government holds the Gulen movement responsible for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt while the latter denies involvement. More than 126,000 people have been detained over ties to the movement in Turkey so far while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier called on foreign governments to punish Gulen followers in their own countries. Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Georgia and Myanmar handed over academics, businessmen and school principals upon the Turkish government’s request even though some of those victims already had refugee status with the UN like Kacmaz family.