After the Kosovo Police Inspectorate filed a crime report against 22 police officers concerning the controversial deportation of six Turks in March 2018, opposition MPs who led a parliamentary investigation into the case say the senior officials who gave the orders must not be let off the hook.
Opposition MPs in Kosovo say the ongoing investigation into the controversial deportation of Turkish nationals last year to Turkey should not stop at low-ranking police officers and must be extended to include senior police and state officials
“We expect the prosecution to indict those who gave the orders for the deportation. They are the govenors of state security agencies like the Kosovo Police and Kosovo Intelligence Agency as well as the President and former Interior Minister,” Driton Selmanaj, from the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, told BIRN.
“We have worked for months on the case … and the prosecution has enough evidence, so there is no reason to wait any more,” the MP added.
A parliamentary investigation found that the Kosovo Intelligence Agency, which reportedly ran the operation, “illegally” deported six Turkish nationals – five employees of Turkish colleges in Kosovo and a doctor.
In a response to BIRN, the Special Prosecution Office on Thursday said it had received a report on the matter from the police inspectorate, IPK, but gave no information about any allegations made against members of the police.
“We would like to announce that the Special Prosecution … has received a crime report from the Kosovo Police Inspectorate on 22 suspects while we are also interviewing other defendants,” the Special Prosecution said.
Selmanaj’s co-chair in the parliamentary committee on the matter, Xhelal Svecla, from the opposition Vetevendosje party, said he suspected the investigation must not avoid high-ranking officials.
“It is good that procedures to bring those responsible before justice for various violations of the law have been started but it is extremely disappointing and unacceptable that only some weak actors have been targeted, avoiding and amnestying those who are mainly responsible,” Svecla said on Thursday on Facebook
“I call on all the 22 police officers [in the report] not to protect those who gave the orders [for the deportation], and I call on all state officials not to implement unlawful orders, no matter where they come from,” Svecla added.
The six Turks deported in March last year were wanted by Ankara for alleged links to the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. The Turkish government calls his movement the Fethullahist Terror Organisation, or FETO for short, and blames it for the failed coup in 2016. Gulen has denied any connection to the coup attempt and the US has ignored calls for his deportation to Turkey.
Turkey has said its secret service conducted the rendition operation in cooperation with Kosovo’s security and intelligence institutions.
But Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj complained that the Turks had been deported without his knowledge – and promptly axed the then director of the Intelligence Agency, Driton Gashi, and the Interior Minister, Flamur Sefaj.