Turkish communities living in Europe were affected politically by the 15 July 2016 unsuccessful coup d’état. At least twenty-three Turkish citizens, political opponents of Erdogan, were abducted by the authorities of Bulgaria, Moldova, Kosovo, Ukraine, and Serbia and sent back to Turkey. The expulsions bypassed the sanctions of national courts.
Were these people put on trial? Were they tortured? Are they already sentenced? Are there other Turkish citizens in Europe who may be currently facing similar deportations?
Turkey has been actively pursuing dissidents around the world, including in European countries. In 2016, Bulgaria extradited to Turkey eight supporters of Fethullah Gülen, the Muslim cleric accused by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of trying to bring down his government. Many other Turkish citizens are currently in Bulgaria claiming asylum. In the beginning of September 2018, Moldova extradited six Turks to Ankara. The country security forces worked in close cooperation with Erdogan's secret services to make the arrests possible. The same type of cooperation was also used in the case of Kosovo, which led to the deportation of six citizens of Turkey in March 2018. Serbia sent to Ankara one Kurdish opponent of the Turkish leader in December 2017, despite the criticism of the United Nations. There are also at least two deportations from Ukraine. These are the confirmed cases, it is possible there are more.
The Turkish political dissidents in Europe claim they fear for their safety and are in danger of clandestine Turkish operations or attacks on EU territory. There is a viable possibility that the renditions of Turkish citizens from Europe and European Union might not have ended. Many people in the Turkish communities in Europe live in fear of political repression, persecution,
and state-sponsored abductions.
A cross-border team consisting of four professional journalists also investigates the fate of Turkish political dissidents in their home country. It reviews the deportations of political exiles from Europe to Turkey which started in 2016.
For security reasons two other journalists want to remain anonymous, but they're known to our organisation.
- България и ловът на гюленистите - Clubz.bg (Bulgaria), 15/07/2020;
- Gulenistak purgatoriuma - Castellum.DO (Hungary), 15/07/2020;
- Stripped, dismissed, jailed and exiled: Turkish soldier tells his story of 'the coup night' - Euronews, 16/07/2020;
- България и ловът на гюленистите (Част 2) - Clubz.bg (Bulgaria), 16/07/2020;
- Wie Bulgariens Premier Borissow zu Erdoğans Handlanger wurde - Der Spiegel, 11/09/2020
- Expulsions, pushbacks and extraditions: Turkey’s war on dissent extends to Europe - The World (US), 23/07/2020
- ДСБ поиска да разследват Цацаров и Борисов за престъпления против републиката - Radio Liberty - 23/09/2020
need resources for your own investigative story?
Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.
support independent cross-border investigative journalism
We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.