Groups helping Turkish activist Bulut Yayla apply for asylum in Greece said that he was abducted from an Athens neighborhood on May 30 and they believe he may have been illicitly returned to Istanbul where he said he had been tortured by the government before fleeing.
The major opposition party Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) spoke of what it called an “unprecedented, gangster-style abduction and extradition of a Turkish political refugee, and was backed by three NGO’s who were helping him.
According to the Greek Council for Refugees, the Network of Social Support to Immigrants and Refugees and the Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees, Yayla was violently abducted from the neighborhood of Exarchia by five men, who, after attacking and beating him, pushed him inside their car and fled the scene in front of several eyewitnesses, EnetEnglish also reported.
There have been claims that the registration number belongs to a police vehicle, but police have so far denied any knowledge of the incident. Sources told the state-run AMNA news agency that the man was reported missing at the Exarchia police station in the early hours of May 31 and an abduction lawsuit was filed.
Police have said that the Athens security services are conducting a preliminary investigation. Yayla, who had reportedly been subjected to torture while in Turkey, had arrived in Greece two months ago and, with the help of the Greek Council of Refugees, was in the process of applying for asylum.
The Greek Council of Refugees reportedly sent an urgent appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to prevent Yayla’s extradition to Turkey, if he is still in Greece. The Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees have expressed concern over a recent “witch hunt” against all those wanted for their political actions in Turkey.
“An alarming number of publications in the Turkish press have referred to agreements between the two governments on the extradition of the wanted people and to secret bilateral anti-terrorist agreements with financial rewards, while portraying specific refugees in Greece, publishing their names and predicting their arrests by the Greek authorities,” the group had said in a press release in April.