PETALING JAYA – The Turkish Twitter community reacted with anger hours after police chief Khalid Abu Bakar announced that three Turkish citizens had been deported despite pleas from family members who fear for their safety in the wake of President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan’s clampdown on dissent.
Many also slammed Khalid for helping the Erdogan regime’s crackdown.
Khalid today said Turgay Karaman, Ismet Ozcelik and Ihsan Aslan were deported after their passports were cancelled by the Turkish goverment.
He also said the trio were part of the so-called Fetullah Terrorist Organization or FETO, the label used by Ankara to describe the Gulen movement led by exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.
“What faith do you represent? You got yourself included in the league of tyrants in the guise of Muslims,” said Twitter user “foto selli”.
The user also drew comparisons from an anecdote from early Islamic history, when Prophet Muhammad who fled his hometown took refuge in then Ethiopia which was ruled by a Christian king.
“Shame on you! King Najashi was not even a Muslim, but he did not hand over those who took refuge in his country and in his authority.”
“Shame on you. This is the reason why Muslims seek refuge in a non-Muslim country,” another rejoined.
Many warned that the trio would now face torture under Turkish custody.
“You’re a disgrace. Sending people to a country where they will likely be tortured or killed,” said Mahir Zeynalov, while Kudret Emin said deporting them “was a violation of international human rights”.
“International community will not be oblivious and look away from this atrocity! #freeTurgay,” he tweeted.
Abdullah Ademoglu was more brash in his reaction, saying it was a blight on Malaysia: “Shame on those; who r not free, who r ignoring human rights, who r corrupted, who violate laws, whose hands are dirty. Shame on MALAYSIA.”
Rights groups have condemned the arrests of Turgay, 43, Ihsan, 39, and Ismet, 58, urging Putrajaya not to deport them for fear they could face torture or an unfair trial.
Following the failed coup by a group of soldiers last year, the Erdogan government has stepped up its clampdown on dissent, including closing down newspapers and sacking tens of thousands of civil servants.
Turkish authorities have investigated some 150,000 people, and arrested 49,000.
Erdogan has also stepped up pressure on the Turkish diaspora, especially those seen to be sympathisers of Gulen, whose movement runs some 2,000 educational establishments worldwide.
It is believed that Malaysia is among the few countries, which also include Saudi Arabia, that have complied with such requests.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi brushed off pleas from wives of the detainees to give their husbands political asylum.
“It’s not our responsibility. We must send them to their country of origin. Why should we bear the burden of another country?” Zahid asked.
The latest deportation brings to five the number of Turkish citizens being sought by Ankara from Malaysia. In October last year, two Turkish citizens were deported.
“The two you handed over last year were tortured in Turkey. The same fate awaits these three. Malaysia is a pawn state of #Erdogan,” reads a post by Twitter user Abdullah Bozkurt today, referring to Alettin Duman and Tamer Tibik who are still being detained without trial in Turkish prisons.