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VIDEO AND PHOTO GALLERY | 2 teachers working at schools linked to Gülen movement deported to Turkey from Ukraine

Two Turkish teachers who were detained in the Ukrainian city of Rava-Ruska on New Year’s Day have been deported to Turkey by Ukrainian authorities despite anger on social media against their potential removal, according to a statement from the Turkish Interior Ministry on Wednesday.

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Citizens of Turkey, the teachers Salih Fidan and Samet Gure, in Rava-Ruska region in the Province of Lviv, were taken into custody last week in Ukraine.

Samet Gure and Salih Fidan, were teachers in Iraq. On their way back to Erbil, they were abducted at the airport in Kyiv by force on a plane to Istanbul/Turkey. Teachers who were taken to Ankara were arrested by the court.

Samet Güre and Salih Fidan, traveled to Kyiv 51 days ago to make their way to Europe to seek asylum because their Turkish passports were about to expire and they feared Turkish authorities would not renew them. They recently went to Rava-Ruska near Lviv, close to the Polish border, where they were detained by Ukrainian police on Dec. 31 among a crowd of people celebrating the new year. It was reported that two teachers were detained with the allegation of “illegal attempt to cross the border” while wandering on a street with people before December 31, New Year celebrations. To give the impression of trying to cross the border, law enforcement officers brought them to the forest area to take pictures of the teachers they detained in the city.

They were accused of entering Ukraine illegally despite the fact that the teachers entered the country with legal travel documents.

The teachers stated that they were kept in the prison for three days and the conditions were very poor, and they were forced to get into the plane to Turkey from Lviv. They avoided that by locking themselves into the toilet and were referred to the court after. At the court they were told if they accept all the accusations against them including the attempt of crossing the border and on the condition that the court may take the decision without their presence, they will be allowed to go to Erbil/Iraq.

Agreed with the court through Ukrainian translators, Gure and Fidan bought flight tickets to return to Erbil, were taken from Lviv to Kyiv on January 4th.

When they were ready to get into the plane to Erbil with a connection through Dubai, Turkish embassy intervened, and the teachers were taken to the D2 gate where the planes usually take off to Turkey.

Güre: “We are sure that the forced deportation to Turkey was provoked by the actions of the Turkish embassy. In Turkey, opposition-minded people die in prisons from torture and ill-treatment. We do not want to return to Turkey, we want to return to Erbil, or in case of extremity are ready to emigrate to Ukraine.” said.

Samet Güre said: “My name is Samet Güre and my name is Salih Fidan. We came to Ukraine and we had a ticket to Dubai, and from Dubai to Erbil, but the soldiers force us to go to Turkey. They said that, at 8 o`clock we have a flight to Dubai, but they say lie, and we checked everything and there is no flight. We know that they are forcing us to go to Turkey. Now we are seeking for asylum, we were talking with all these soldiers behind us. They are waiting there. But they do not let us write anything about it, we could not talk with their head, and they are forcing us.”

When they objected to boarding the 09.50 Istanbul plane on the morning of January 5, Güre and Fidan. Thanks to one of the flight attendants who said that he will not take any passengers by force they could stay at the airport. They later applied for asylum to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ukraine Office.

While the telephone interviews with the UNHCR for asylum were going on, upon the request of three police officers in suits sent from the Turkish Embassy of Kyiv, security measures and the number of soldiers were increased to fifteen around the teachers.

The teachers had to file asylum applications at the UNHCR to avoid their deportation but were deported before the asylum process was completed after Turkish Embassy officials in Kyiv reportedly took action to facilitate their return to Turkey. Despite the anger on social media, the teachers were forced to board a plane to İstanbul on the evening of Jan. 5 and were flown to Turkey.

UNHCR lawyers were also not allowed to enter the area. Thereupon, Güre and Fidan recorded videos explaining the situation and called for help from the media.

Just before the kidnapping, Güre stated to UkraynaHaber.com that they were forced to get on the Kyiv – Istanbul flight on January 5, 20:35. The phone communication was interrupted at 20:16. Due to the events that occurred, the flight was delayed to 21.36 which was planned to take off at 20.35.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Harms, ex-spokeswoman for foreign affairs and expert on Turkey in the European Parliament’s Greens/EFA group (2004-2019), on Tuesday called on the Ukrainian government to stop the extradite people like these teachers to Turkey.

#Ukraine should not extradite people like these teachers to countries where they face political persecution. Ukraine instead should guarantee rule of law and human rights.@ZelenskyyUa @KyivPost @Hromadske @Kabmin_UA_e I remember well that President Zelensky once personally invited people who suffer from political persecution and he promised asylum and even passports.@Denys_Shmyhal @ZelenskyyUa @DmytroKuleba “ Harms tweeted, mentioning the Twitter accounts of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal and Minister for Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba.

THEIR CRIME IS DEPOSITING MONEY IN THE BANK

In the morning of January 6, statement from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkey it was announced that Güre and Fidan were brought to Turkey from Ukraine.

At the description: “After the talks of The Republic of Turkey General Directorate of Security Department of Combating Smuggling and Organized Crime with Ukrainian authorities, Fidan and Güre were brought to Turkey.” stated.

The two teachers who were abducted from Ukraine are kept at the Terrorist Crimes Investigation Bureau of the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the statements of those who benefited from effective regret, Fidan and Güre, who worked as teachers abroad, deposited money in their Bank Asya account after the “big bribery and corruption scandal” on December 17-25, 2013. Following the corruption investigations of 2013 in which the inner circle of then Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was implicated. Bank Asya was seized on February 3, 2015 and closed after the bank was emptied.

Following these investigations, called a “coup attempt” by Erdoğan and his government, a crackdown was launched on Gülen movement members that culminated with the coup attempt of 2016. The Gülen movement denies any involvement in the corruption investigations as well.

The names of the teachers were also reportedly mentioned in the depositions of some people who were prosecuted on terrorism charges due to their alleged Gülen links and wanted to benefit from the so-called “effective repentance” law.

Since the coup attempt, followers of the Gülen movement have been subjected to a massive crackdown, with the Turkish government and pro-government media outlets demonizing its members.

According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Nov. 26, a total of 292,000 people have been detained while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,655 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed due to links to the Gülen movement.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

Reporter: Yunus Erdoğdu | Kyiv – yunuserdogdu@hotmail.com

Twitter @Erdogduy

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