Some 40 Turkish teachers fled Pakistan along with their families as Islamabad government have fallen under pressure from Turkey as part of latter’s worldwide crackdown against what it sees as the leader of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government as well as the President Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame for the last year’s failed putsch on the Gulen movement and its followers.
And even teacher supporters of the group have failed to escape the persecution as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who have already arrested more than 56,000 people over Gulen ties at home, repeatedly calls on foreign governments to punish Gulenists in their own countries.
Serdal Arslan, the former principal of a school, founded by sympathizers of the movement in the Pakistani city of Peshawar told Washington Post in a recent interview that of about 110 Turkish teacher families, 40 have left Pakistan for other countries and 70 have remained in hopes of obtaining asylum. Most are sharing houses or apartments and rarely go out, he added.
Arslan’s interview came amid backlash against Turkish teacher Mesut Kacmaz and his family’s disappearance in Lahore.
Kacmaz, his wife and two daughters were forced into pickup trucks outside his home by some 15 plainclothes security officials in the middle of the night on Sept 27 and neither friends nor remaining family members in Turkey have heard from them since then.
Pakistani police reportedly told a local high court that they have no information about the disappearance while Washington Post said that Pakistani human rights groups are pointing to intelligence agencies.
The same court ordered the Pakistan’s Interior Ministry to provide protection for other Turkish educators however, the government seems reluctant to do so.
“After someone’s visa expires, you deport them,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told media on Oct 11.
In November, last year, Islamabad government asked more than 100 Turkish teachers and school staff to leave the country along with families ahead of official visit by Erdogan who have secured deportation of several Gulen-linked teachers from a group of countries including Malaysia, Myanmar and Saudi Arabia.