U.S. Embassy Demands Responsibility on Expulsion of Turkish Nationals
“It was almost a year ago that Kosovo expelled six Turkish citizens as alleged threats to national security without due process. We were pleased to see the establishment of a parliamentary investigative committee, which exposed legal violations surrounding the incident despite attempts to obstruct its work. The committee’s findings, which suggest 31 legal or procedural breaches by the Kosovo Intelligence Agency, Interior Ministry, and other institutions, raise concerns about overreach by key security agencies, as well as the security sector’s susceptibility to political manipulation. We call on Kosovo institutions to ensure full accountability for anyone violating the law, and remind Kosovo leaders that security institutions must act only within their constitutional authority, subject to the rule of law.
The issue is not the alleged guilt or innocence of the individuals, but rather the apparent circumventing of Kosovo’s legal processes by Kosovo politicians. Political pressure on the security sector to break Kosovo law is an egregious breach of democratic values. We urge full transparency in the security sector, and in the conduct of foreign affairs, to prevent inappropriate interference by Kosovo politicians in the future,” reads the press release.
British and German Embassies Support US stance
The British Embassy in Kosovo supported the stance of United States of America regarding expulsion of Turkish citizens in March last year.
“We fully support U.S. Embassy Pristina, Kosovo statement today on expulsions of Turkish citizens last March. Kosovo institutions must be accountable and subject to the rule of law,” the reaction of British Embassy reads.
The German Ambassador to Kosovo Christina Heldt, took to Twitter to write that “We fully support the U.S. Embassy in Pristina statement today on expulsions of Turkish citizens last March. Kosovo institutions must be accountable and subject to the rule of law.”
Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, has reacted today after statements by foreign embassies in Pristina criticizing politics for the deportation of six Turkish nationals from Kosovo.
Haradinaj took to Facebook to note that no security institution can violate human rights.
He wrote: “with respect to competencies outlined in the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and respecting the legislation of the Republic of Kosovo, I have deemed of vital importance to fully resolve the forceful deportation of the Turkish nationals from Kosovo. In addressing this situation, I launched immediate institutional measures by dismissing the Director of the AKI [Kosovo’s Intelligence Agency] and the Minister of Interior Affairs who had direct responsibility for the case.”
“Fully committed to clarify institutional responsibilities, possible violations of the constitution and the law, the protection of human rights, and above all, to guarantee national security, I have requested investigation reports from the State Chief Prosecutor, the General Director of Kosovo Police, the Chief Inspector of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, the Kosovo Police Inspectorate, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Navigation Services Agency. Furthermore, with respect to accountability, I have answered the invitation of the ad-hoc parliamentary committee that investigated the forceful deportation of the Turkish nationals. I have answered their questions and submitted to them an official report on all the actions of the government. The steps taken by the government are guarantees that if faced with similar situations we will be uncompromised in the implementation of Kosovo’s laws. Without any prejudice, the rule of law will be our only path. Revealing the truth, those responsible and the legal violations, will help build democracy and protect human rights. No one is above the law and no institution in Kosovo will violate universal human rights”.
Sfecla: We were compromised in the case of six Turkish nationals
Xhelal Sfecla, member of the Kosovo Assembly and former head of a parliamentary committee that investigated the case, said on Tuesday that the committee faced many obstructions in their work.
“We were compromised with the quorum in the Assembly because MPs from the ruling coalition would leave the assembly sessions or they wouldn’t show up at all whenever they didn’t like the results of our group. Everything that had to be done was for the MPs to vote on the report we presented, but the voting was made impossible as a result of obstructions by some committee members,” Sfecla argued.
Is Thaci behind deportation of Turkish nationals?
Vetevendosje parliamentary group chief, Glauk Konjufca, claimed in an interview on Tuesday that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci was behind the forceful deportation of six Turkish nationals from Kosovo in 2018.
“The President was behind this. There are many findings by the committee which show that the President needs to explain some uncertainties surrounding his involvement in this case … He didn’t respond to the invitation of the committee,” Konjufca said.
AKI was misused for illegal acts
Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) MP, Anton Cuni, said on Tuesday that there were legal violations in the deportation of six Turkish nationals from Kosovo in 2018. Cuni said these were the findings of the parliamentary committee that investigated the case.
“After several months of work, we concluded that there were legal violations. We asked for additional time to conclude our work, but our request was not taken into consideration … Competencies and authorizations were violated. The Kosovo Intelligence Agency, in particular, was misused to carry out an illegal and anti-constitutional action,” Cuni was quoted as saying.
Turkey responds to U.S. Embassy statement
The Turkish Embassy in Pristina expressed the position of the Turkish government on the deportation of six Turkish nationals from Kosovo in 2018.
A post on Facebook quoted a spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry as saying that Turkish authorities were achieving “concrete results in the fight against the expansion of FETO terror organizations outside Turkey”.
“It is becoming increasingly evident that this organization constitutes a serious threat not only to Turkey but also to the countries where it operates,” the spokesman said. “We call on our partners and allies to have a more careful approach instead of trying to block our measures against FETO”.
Opposition planning to call an urgent session of the Parliament
Opposition parties — the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and Vetevendosje — are planning to call an urgent session of the Kosovo Assembly soon to discuss the report of the investigative committee on the deportation of six Turkish nationals in 2018. According to LDK and VV representatives, the draft report — which identified numerous serious violations of rights — is not being finalized on purpose.