Turkey’s leading pro-govenment dailies and journalists hang the flags out after Turkish teacher Mesut Kacmaz and his family were forcefully deported by Pakistani government to Turkey at the Turkish government’s request despite the family’s asylum certificates granted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Mesut Kaçmaz, his wife Meral Kaçmaz along with their two children were deported by the Pakistani gov’t to Turkey early on Saturday over their alleged links to the Gülen group, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt last year. The couple and their children were reportedly blindfolded and forcefully put on an unmarked flight from Islamabad to İstanbul in the morning of October 14.
In a front-page story on Monday, pro-government Güneş daily welcomed the news of forceful deportation and proudly announced that Turkey brought the Kaçmaz family back despite their UN protection. The daily accused Kaçmaz of “administrating FETÖ’s filthy network across the South Asia.” FETÖ is an abbreviation coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in order to describe the alleged network of Gülen group.
Taken away from their apartment in Lahore in the middle of the night on Sept 27, Kacmaz family had been staying in Pakistan for over a year on UN’s asylum seeker certificate. The Pakistani government earlier asked teachers working at the schools affiliated with the Gulen movement to leave the country at Turkey’s request.
Gunes said Kacmaz family including the two children were blindfolded and hooded by Pakistani’s anti-terror police. The daily said Mr. and Mrs. Kacmaz were taken to a police station in Ankara for interrogation while the children were handed over to a relative in Istanbul.
In a similar vein, Hürriyet daily welcomed the deportation with the following headline: “A Very Special Expedition.” The daily said that the whole family was forcefully put on a plane specifically sent by the Turkish government.
Following the initial reports of deportation, Hilal Kaplan, a pro-Erdogan columnist, welcomed the incident with a tweet in which she thanked the Pakistani government.
“This is a remarkable development. Thanks Pakistan,” she tweeted.
Vatan and Akşam dailies prefered to use the same headlines: United Nations failed to save FETÖ traitor! The fact that the Kaçmaz family was deported even though they had asylum certificates granted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), was ridiculed by the dailies.
Meanwhile, Reuters quoted a Pakistani official as saying: “On Saturday, they were deported to Turkey from Islamabad on a special plane sent by the Turkish government.”
Mesut Kacmaz is a former principal of the Pak Turk schools, founded by the followers of the Gulen group.
Turkish government holds the Gulen group 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.
In May 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.