The expulsion of the seven Turkish teachers is a tragedy that has lasted for two years. It is a tragedy of particular persons and families and also a tragedy of the whole society, which allowed and continues to allow this situation to develop. The participants in IPN’s public debate “Two years of expulsion of Turkish teachers. Lessons learned and lessons to be learned” discussed what has happened in this concrete case and also to Moldovan society, to the Moldovan values and the life of Moldovans.
The standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan said that the European Court of Human Rights on June 11, 2019 passed its judgment in this case. The judgment said the depriving of the Turkish teachers of freedom was an illegal transfer of persons from Moldova’s territory to Turkey, which omitted all the guarantees offered by the national and international legislation. Also, the Court held that the Moldovan legislation regulates the expulsion and extradition. However, the applicants were removed by an illegal transfer that omitted all the legal, national and international guarantees. These are the terms used by the ECHR.
The expert noted that the national legislation provides that “extradition” is the handover of a pursued or convicted person to another state in accordance with the law. It was seen that both the national legislation and the intentional legislation were violated. Also, expulsion implies the forcing of someone to leave a country. “So, we see the difference and saw in the ECHR’s judgment that the Moldovan authorities, even if they anticipated particular dangers to the security of the Republic of Moldova, could not offer those teachers the possibility of choosing the jurisdiction themselves when leaving the Republic of Moldova so as to defend their rights. Things are as clear as possible,” stated Igor Boțan.
Galina Tufekci, the wife of the principal of the Ceadîr-Lunga Lyceum “Orizont” Feridun Tufekci, who was expelled from the Republic of Moldova two years ago, said that on September 6, 2018, persons dressed in civvies showed up in their yard. They took her husband by force in an unknown direction. She was told not to leave the house. Later, she was phoned by a lawyer and told that she has to sign a number of documents in connection with this incident. She came to the capital city and then went to the airport in the hope that she will see her husband, but all in vain as everything was well-organized so as to take the teachers out of the country by other ways. At the airport, they saw negligence of their pain but no one could do anything as there were many police officers there.
She then returned home, hoping that her husband was in Moldova, but in a day or two she found out that the Turkish teachers were in Turkey, being distributed to jails, according to the regions from where they come. Galina Tufekci said the goal announced by the authorities was to make sure that the relatives, the parents felt shame for their children. “But I want to say that they should be proud of the children they brought up as those teachers who were expelled are persons with honor, dignity and decency,” stated the woman.
Igor Boțan specified that there were at least nine episodes and everything started with the arrest of the principal of the Chisinau Lyceum “Orizont” in March 2018 and his interrogation by the SIS. Another episode was when all the applicants asked for asylum from the Bureau for Migration and Asylum in April 2018. Later, in September 2018, seven teachers were taken to the airport and transported to Turkey by a charter flight. In the sixth episode, the families received letters with the Bureau’s decisions by which the applications for asylum were rejected. “But what is interesting, and this is the seventh episode we know, is that the Bureau for Migration and Asylum before this concluded that the applicants met the legal conditions for being granted asylum in the Republic of Moldova. The Bureau reviewed its own decisions after it was informed by the intelligence services that these people represent a threat to state security,” said the expert, noting that the representatives of the applicants in October 2018 went to court, but the Moldovan courts refused to do justice to them. The ECHR later passed its conviction judgment.
Ion Manole, executive director of the Promo-LEX Association, said that what happened two years ago in the Republic of Moldova was first of all an extraordinarily serious case and an abuse of the rights of the seven persons. It is a shame for whole society, for the whole county as this shocking case for everyone became a very unpleasant precedent and sad, dramatic history for the image of the country and society.
“The main problem here was the abusive violation of all the existing procedures. It is grave as these procedures were violated consciously by the state institutions, by institutions that are paid to watch over and guarantee the observance of these procedures and the laws. In such a country, one cannot feel safe. In such a country, investments cannot come. From such a country, active persons, persons with economic and social potential continue to emigrate en masse,” stated Ion Manole. According to him, as a result Moldova lost seven persons who obeyed the law and were integrated into society, with some of them being citizens of the Republic of Moldova.
Representatives of the ruling party of that period were invited to the debate, but neither representatives of the Pro-Moldova Party nor those of the Democratic Party of Moldova found possibilities to take part.
The public debate “Two years of expulsion of Turkish teachers. Lessons learned and lessons to be learned” was the 150th installment of the series of debates “Developing political culture through public debates” that are supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.