Turgut Ozal has filed a criminal complaint against the State Police for raiding their premises, without a warrant, court order, and for using excessive force.
“There have been some checks that we deem illegal and we have addressed them with a criminal report. The police entered by force raided the premise, they forcibly took tax invoices, the sales ledger, student registers, and contracts with parents and students….checks cannot be done without respecting the criminal procedural code.”
He added that the school had been subjected to a tax audit and that the results of that showed no irregularities.
The lawyer said they have reported about 12 people as they searched without a warrant, official decision, prosecution order, or court order.
Staff at the school that spoke to Exit in confidence described how following the “extended and intensive” tax audit, one day, large numbers of police turned up at all the schools’ campuses simultaneously.
They detailed how police demanded to search the premises but refused to say why or to provide any official documentation. This action took place in front of students who were in attendance at the time. It’s reported that the police were also filming the ‘raid’ including the faces of students without permission. Staff described the ordeal as “terrifying”.
Some days ago, the media reported that the company which owns several schools in the country is under investigation for money laundering. The company disputes this, stating that everything is above board.
Those employed by the school state that all is legal and in order and no irregularities have been found either during internal audits or the recent audit carried out by the state.
It’s speculated that the police action is due to pressure from the Turkish government to take “steps” against the Gulen movement and to hand over its members to Turkey.
In February of this year, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu met with Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj. They agreed with “the war against organized crime and terrorism.”
The Turkish minister claimed that Gulenists are “not only a threat to Turkey but to countries where they are located,” adding that they were “controlled by some countries’ secret services.” Cavusoglu said they must be returned to Turkey, reminding the government that they “expect the support and contribution of Albania” in education and other matters. He added that there are many Gulenists in Albania and that the government “has taken some steps” but Turkey expects it to do more.
The Turkish government claims that the failed 2016 coup d’etat was masterminded by Fethullah Gulen. In the subsequent years, the government has cracked down on academics, journalists, teachers, activists, and workers in the civil service that it claims are linked to the uprising.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accused of using the failed coup as an excuse to tighten his grip on the country.
There is no known link between the Turgut Ozal school, its teachers, or students and the Fetullah Gulen Movement. They believe they are being targeted due to political pressure from Turkey.
The Albanian government have been criticised for their treatment of Turkish citizens who have been extradited, or who are planned to be deported back to Turkey. In January this year, the EU reminded the government of its human rights obligations after they deported Harun Celik back to Turkey, despite him asking for political asylum.
Another Turkish citizen, Selami Simsek is currently fighting to overturn the decision to deport him as he says he faces unjust imprisonment if he is returned to Turkey.
The Albanian Ombudsman said the government had violated all possible laws. The United Nations said that Albania is complicit in Extraterritorial Abductions and forced disappearances of Turkish nationals.