After a new government came to power in Moldova in 2019, a criminal case was launched against officials involved in the deportation of teachers to Turkey
A Turkish teacher deported from Moldova to Turkey last year has been sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.
Moldovan News Maker reports the sentence against the former branch director of the Orizont Lyceum Feridun Tufekci was announced on October 8.
Tufekci was expelled from Moldova along with six other teachers, also Turkish citizens in September 2018.
They were all accused of having connections with religious leader Fethullah Gulen, whom the Turkish authorities consider the organizer of the coup in Turkey in the summer of 2016.
The other five teachers deported from Moldova had previously been convicted. They received different prison terms, from six to 12 years in length.
On June 11, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights found Moldova guilty of violating the teachers’ rights to freedom and inviolability, as well as respect for family life. The ECHR drew attention to the illegal actions of the Moldovan Intelligence and Security Service and the Bureau for Migration and Refugees in the case.
On September 6, on the anniversary of the expulsion of teachers from Moldova in Chisinau, the former deputy head of the Information Security Service, Alexander Baltag. was detained.
An investigation into the unlawful expulsion of teachers was also launched against the director of the Bureau for Migration and Refugees, Olga Poalelunzh, who was banned from leaving the country.
Prosecuting ‘Gulenists’ across the region
The authorities of Turkey blamed the coup attempt of 2016 on the religious leader Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania in the United States.
A campaign of arrests and dismissals of all those suspected of having links with Gulen and his movement swept through Turkey in the aftermath. In 2017, all educational institutions of Gulen in Turkey were closed (educational institutions under the patronage of Gulen operate around the world), thousands of his supporters were imprisoned. Turkish authorities demanded similar actions from friendly countries.
In July 2016, the private Caucasus University was closed in Azerbaijan, presumably linked to Gulen, who was considered one of the best in the country.
In 2017, the prestigious Demirel Private College in Tbilisi and the Shakhin School in Batumi were closed in Georgia. Both educational institutions were associated with Gulen, and the cause of power was the violation they committed.
Georgian law enforcement authorities at the request of Turkey arrested Emre Cabuk, the manager of Demirel College.
He was charged with terrorism in Turkey, Turkey demanded his extradition from Georgia. However, after serving in pre-trial detention for several months, Chabuk was released and was not transferred to Turkey.
In 2018, the Black Sea University – one of the most prestigious private universities in Georgia, was deprived of the right to accept students.
The reason was allegedly that the institution had committed several violations – this university was also associated with the Gulen movement, however the decision against it was later quashed.