Two years of expulsion of Turkish teachers: We hope they will be released yet

On September 6, it is two years of the expulsion of seven Turkish citizens – teachers and managers of the network of “Orizont” Lyceums in Moldova – to Turkey. Contacted by IPN for a comment, vice director of the network Umit Oz said that a tragedy for them, for their families and for society in general happened two years ago.

Umit Oz noted that their mates are still in jail and he does not know if something will change soon. “We yet hope that they will be released one day, healthy, and they will not face any problem, particularly now during the COVID-19 pandemic. You know what the situation in the world is, particularly in Turkey. We are concerned about their health. We hope to see them healthy,” stated the vice director.

He also said it’s good that the Republic of Moldova admitted its guilt and paid the sums awarded by the ECHR and also that the authorities publicly condemned those events. He would like those who committed the illegalities to be held accountable.

The seven Turkish citizens who worked for “Orizont” Lyceums were declared undesirable and expelled from Moldova on September 6, 2018. The Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) said then the seven were suspected of having ties with an Islamic group that reportedly performed illegal activities in a number of states. The families and colleagues of the teachers mounted multiple protests in support of the seven Turkish citizens who were convicted in Turkey.

On June 11, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights held that the Republic of Moldova violated the rights of the Turkish citizens and ordered that Moldova should pay by €25,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage to each of them.

A criminal case over abuse of power and misuse of authority against employees of the Interior Ministry’s Bureau of Migration and Asylum and the SIS was started at the beginning of last August. The case, which involved the former SIS director Vasile Botnari, was later sent to court. The charges against two former vice directors of the SIS and the head of the Bureau of Migration and Asylum were dropped.

This February, Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo said the whole operation was ordered, coordinated and conducted directly by the accused, who at that moment held the post of director of the SIS. “Even if it was determined that the actions taken by former deputies of the SIS director formally contain elements of the offense of which they were accused, it was established that these fulfilled the orders of their superior, not knowing then that they were illegal,” he stated.

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