22 october 2017

Central Asia news

Two teachers from Turkey applied for asylum in Kazakhstan

28.09.2017 09:13 msk

Fergana


Demirel Osman and Altynash Isa, the two teachers of the Kazakh-Turkish lyceums, turned to the Kazakh authorities for asylum, a lawyer from Pavlodar Alibek Smailov reports on his Facebook page.


One of the Kazakh-Turkish lyceums. Photo by Lada.Kz

According to him, the teachers asked him for help as a graduate of one of these schools. Since the beginning of August, the migration police and the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan subjected Demirel Osman and Altyntash Isa and members of their families to psychological pressure requiring them to return to Turkey.

"So, on 9 August 2017, law enforcement officers visited their homes and, demanding to present identity documents of all family members, took them to the Department of Migration Service of the Pavlodar province. After the interview the officers released them. On 14 August 2017, unlawful administrative charges were applied against the officials of the lyceums for allegedly failing to register the documents of the children of these teachers whose terms of validity had expired very recently," Alibek Smailov writes.

At the same time, both teachers several months before the expiry of the passport of children appealed to their embassy, but they were denied services, forcing them to fly to Turkey.

Neither Osman nor Isa appealed against the decisions of the court fearing that the Kazakh authorities may begin to exert pressure on the management of the lyceums where they worked, or take measures to close them.

Based on the judicial decision, the teachers were not extended working visas, although previously there were no problems with this.

"As it became known from the conversation with the staff of the migration service and the former director of the lyceum, all of their problems, as well as the problems of other Turkish citizens - teachers of the lyceums began after the corresponding instruction of the Committee on National Security of the Republic of Kazakhstan demanding to prevent their presence on the territory of Kazakhstan," explains lawyer Smailov.

On 25 August, Demirel Osman and Altintash Isa appealed to the migration police department of the Pavlodar region with a request to grant them refugee status. They were given certificates of asylum seekers which provide them and their families the right to stay in Kazakhstan for up to three months while their question is being considered. However, the migration police officers are trying to complete the examination as soon as possible.

After the failed coup in Turkey and mass repressions against those who, according to Turkish President Recep Erdogan, could support his political opponent Fethullah Gulen, Turkish expatriates in Kazakhstan expressed concern about their fate. It particularly affected the sphere of education, as the Turkish Ambassador to Kazakhstan Nevzat Uyanyk urged the authorities to take "urgent and concrete measures" against the Kazakh-Turkish educational institutions. He stated that the Turkish government funded only one university in the country, all other educational institutions were opened with the assistance of the Gulen organisation "FETA". Nevertheless, not a single joint educational institution in Kazakhstan was closed, but all of them were checked and renamed "Bilim-Innovation Lyceum" ("Educational innovative lyceums").

During a press conference on 14 September, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that Erdogan repeatedly demanded the extradition of employees of Kazakh-Turkish educational institutions to Turkey. Nazarbayev said that all the lyceums and universities attributed to Gulen belong to Kazakhstan. He also added that he received letters from Turkish teachers working in Kazakhstan who reported possible torture and imprisonment in the event of their extradition.

"We frankly cannot give you innocent people, nor can we take them into custody, without any reason. It is my last word, and it is not a subject to discussion. The end of the discussion," Nazarbayev concluded.

Alibek Smailov believes that the only chance for Turkish citizens to stay in the country is to write their petitions for granting asylum to the President of Kazakhstan.

Fergana News Agency