Another Turkish citizen caught fleeing Albania faces court

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 14, 2020 10:49

Another Turkish citizen caught fleeing Albania faces court

Story Highlights

  • Both Turks had reportedly followed the same route from previously staying in Pristina, where they had shared the same room, awaiting a Canadian visa in exchange for payment. The two had entered with their regular passports at the border and were discovered by Albanian authorities in an attempt to flee to Canada.

Related Articles

TIRANA, Jan. 14 – Another Turkish national arrested by Albanian authorities after attempting to travel to Canada on a fake visa, began facing court proceedings on Tuesday. 

He was arrested on the same day as his compatriot Harun Celik, who was deported from Albania urgently on the day his sentence ended, on suspicion of violating legal procedures. Simsek is also allegedly regarded by Ankara authorities as a member of the so-called Gülenist movement, which Turkish President Recep Tayiip Erdogan blames for the 2016 failed coup d’etat. 

Both Turks had reportedly followed the same route from previously staying in Pristina, where they had shared the same room, awaiting a Canadian visa in exchange for payment. The two had entered with their regular passports at the border and were discovered by Albanian authorities in an attempt to flee to Canada.

Simsek appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday, while he has been in custody for nearly six months. Interest in his case was fueled by procedures followed with an unusual urgency for Harun Celik. The latter, who fled his country for supporting the Gülen movement and having threats to his life, was expelled from Albania within a few hours of his release from prison.

The first record of his case by the Albanian authorities was contradictory, to the extent that the professional Turkish lawyers had not received official information as to what action had been taken against their client.

One lawyer told VoA “Celik asked officials for political asylum but this was rejected by the prison police authorities.” 

He explained that he had made the request in the presence of an interpreter, but prison leaders told him that he would have to do so when released, which was seen by the lawyer as a violation of his client’s rights. 

Senior police chiefs and Interior Minister Sander Lleshaj recently said in an interview for the show “Capital” on Vision Plus, that there has been no written request for asylum, while Albanian legislation provides that “Asylum application” is any statement by a foreigner or stateless person, expressed in any way whatsoever.

In this context, videos released by ABC News show how during the transport by police, Celik shouts the word ‘asylum’ and ‘azil’ aloud. His expulsion also appears to have been in breach of domestic law which provides for the right to appeal.

Turkish authorities have repeatedly demanded from the Albanian side the capture of members of the FETO organization, considered a terrorist organization by Ankara. 

Representatives of the Turkish embassy were present at the hearing against Selami Simsek, but the latter, questioned by the judge, said he did not consider this a problem as he sought a shortened sentence. 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 14, 2020 10:49