Salih Zeki Yigit, a suspected follower of the Gulen movement who was abducted from Ukraine by Turkish intelligence agency, has said he feared torture in Turkey.
“People say there is torture [in Turkey],” Yigit told journalist who asked him why he failed to return to Turkey voluntarily. Yigit was put in pre-trial detention in the southern province of Mersin.
The Ukraine-based Turkish journalist Yunus Erdoğdu told media that two Turkish officials forced Yigit into a car and put a sack onto his head in daytime in Odessa a day before his return to Turkey.
Last week, Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) abducted two overseas followers of the Gulen movement and forced them back to Turkey in the latest of such forced returns by the organization. The abductees were identified as Isa Ozdemir and Salih Zeki Yigit who were forced back in a private jet, operated by MIT, from Azerbaijan and Ukraine, respectively. The pair are accused of membership to the Gulen movement which the government blames for the July 15, 2016 failed coup, a claim the movement denies. In a similar case on July 12, Ukrainian officials deported a journalist to Turkey at Turkish government’s request as part of the latter’s manhunt against the suspected Gulenists across the world.
More than 150,000 people have been detained and 90,000 were remanded in prison over Gulen links in Turkey since the summer of 2016. Several rights organizations reported torture in Turkish prisons. Meanwhile, Erdogan called on foreign governments to punish Gulenists in their own countries.
So far, a number of countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Georgia and Myanmar handed over academics, businessmen and school principals upon the Turkish government’s request despite the fact that some of those victims already had refugee status with the United Nations.
According to Turkish government’s narrative, MIT conducts such operations by itself in some countries and brings the suspects back without involvement of any other foreign law enforcement.