The Author

Ugur Tok

Ugur Tok is the Director of Platform for Peace and Justice based in Brussels.

Six Turkish nationals, five education workers and a cardiologist, living in Kosovo have been arrested by Kosovar authorities and handed over to Turkish Intelligence last week. The international community is shocked by the unlawful nature of arrest and rendition of the Turks with no court hearing and fair trial.

Erdogan regime has managed to manipulate the Kosovar intelligence mechanism by bypassing the Prime Minister’s office. Earlier, a family from Pakistan and two men from Malaysia were brought to Turkey in the same way. According to Bekir Bozdag, the Deputy PM of Turkey, 80 individuals have been brought from abroad to Turkey by the Turkish intelligence agency. Needless to say, abductees face torture during the abductions and after they were brought to Turkey.

Kosovo, Pakistan and Malaysia are known for their economic ties with Erdogan regime. President Erdogan doesn’t hesitate to use the economy as leverage against other governments to hunt his opponents. Also, he plays the trading card to appease the European governments. Even Germany, France and UK are criticised for involving shady trade deals with Erdogan government although they are expected to take action against grave human rights violations.  Deniz Yucel, the Die Welt journalist who was released after heated debates between the German and the Turkish governments, felt that he had to say that he didn’t want to be a part of any kind of dirty deal.

Erdogan has first destroyed the judicial system and punished all media outlets who used to oppose him. Now, both the judiciary and the media are under his absolute control. He is now playing God in the country by declaring his opponents as terrorists and prosecuting them and sentencing them to heavy jail terms.

For example, aggravated life sentences have been handed down to Altan Brothers and Nazli Ilicak, together with three other journalists for absurd charges like spreading subliminal messages to support the coup. Every reasonable person in Turkey knows that this decision wasn’t taken by the three judges of the court. It was Erdogan-Ultranationalists alliance that ordered it as a revenge of what these journalists pursued in the past.

According to official figures over 400.000 individuals including well-known philanthropist Osman Kavala, Amnesty chair Taner Kilic, American pastor Andrew Brunson, American academic Henri Barkey, HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas, NASA scientist Serkan Golge, 2500 judges, thousands of academics, nearly 300 journalists are being prosecuted with similar absurd charges.

After consolidating the autocratic regime at home, Erdogan has extended his long arms to countries with governments that he could easily manipulate. Some of the African governments and some Muslim countries ruled by Erdogan-ally governments have become Erdogan’s test field to see the reaction of the international community against the Turkish givernment disrespect of the rule of law. He saw that he could go as further as he can without facing serious backlash from the Occidental governments for his crossing the lines.

One of the journalists who are loyal to Erdogan said that Turkish spy agency must also abduct senior journalist Can Dundar and brought back to Turkey. In other words, new targets of Erdogan regime will probably be those who fled to western democracies. This isn’t a speculation but a terrifying fact because an attempt to abduct a Turkish national from Switzerland has already been reported and prevented by the Swiss authorities.

The perpetrator was identified as an employee of the Turkish embassy in Bern. In another case, a Kurdish-German football player was targeted by gunmen on a German highway. Deniz Naki, the famous football player, said he is convinced that he was targeted because of his criticism of Erdogan for Afrin offensive.

Earlier in January 2013, three senior members of PKK were killed by an assailant in Paris. After investigations, it was understood that the Turkish spy agency involved the killings. A voice record was shown as evidence that Omer Guney, the assassinator, was in contact with members of the Turkish intelligence.

Furthermore, in late 2016, Turkish Energy Minister and Erdogan’s son in law Berat Albayrak met with Mike Flynn and CIA head Woolsey to discuss to abduct a Turkish cleric from the US soil. Although Flynn has paid his shady business with Russia and Turkey losing his career and reputation, Turkish officials who involve such unlawful plots have so far not been held accountable.

Refugee issue, rapprochement with Russia and shady economic affairs lead the international community to play into Erdogan’s hand. But, Erdogan government is obviously a security threat to even ordinary Europeans as Mehmet Ugur, a signatory of Peace Petition and professor at Greenwich University, rightly stated. As long as European leaders continue to pursue appeasement policy with Erdogan calling it Realpolitik, he won’t hesitate to target ordinary citizens of European countries.

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