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The News in Brief

Tuesday, May 30
Amnesty: Turkish Teacher Detained by Georgia ‘at Imminent Risk’ of Extradition

Mustafa Emre Çabuk, a Turkish secondary school teacher living in Georgia, “is at imminent risk of extradition to Turkey, where he is at risk of torture and other grave human rights violations,” Amnesty International, a London-based international human right organization, said in a brief report on May 26.

Çabuk, who works as one of the managers of the private Demirel College in Tbilisi, was detained on May 24 at the request of Turkish authorities allegedly for having links to the Fethullah Gülen-associated FETÖ, an organization designated as a terrorist group by Turkey. Çabuk, who denies the accusations, was sent to three-month pre-extradition detention by Tbilisi City Court on May 25.

According to the report, Çabuk “is alleged to have assisted one of the shareholders of the private Demirel College to sell his shares to the Metropolitan Education and Consulting Services LCC, an educational institution in the United States which Turkey believes has links with the Gülen movement.”

The Gülen movement, which runs an international network of businesses and schools, was established by Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based cleric, who the Turkish authorities accuse of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt.

“Since 2016, the Turkish government is reported to have pressured its allies to take legal action against suspected supporters of Fethullah Gülen,” Amnesty International said.

Mustafa Emre Çabuk “could be extradited any minute and in Turkey he could be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment, unfair trial or other serious human right violations,” the organization also stated.

“Under international human rights law, as well as its domestic legislation, Georgia is obliged not to return a person to a country where they might be at risk of torture, other ill-treatment or other serious human rights violations,” it added.

Amnesty International called for urgent action, asking to appeal to the Georgian authorities “to comply with their obligations under international human rights law not to deport, extradite or otherwise return Mustafa Çabuk to a country where he would be at risk of torture, other ill-treatment or other serious human rights violations.”

The arrest of Mustafa Emre Çabuk came less than four months after the Georgian Ministry of Education closed down the Batumi Refaiddin Sahin Friendship School, operated by the Chaglar Educational Institutions, a Gülen-affiliated network in Georgia citing “significant problems with respects to the student enrolment.” It also came a day after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s one-day official visit to Tbilisi.

Draft Document of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly available

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly draft document on supporting Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, presented by the Assembly Vice President Rasa Jukneviciene (Lithuania) says:
The Assembly

1. Congratulating the people of Georgia with the 99th anniversary of the adoption of the Act of Independence and with the 26th anniversary of restoration of Independence;

2. Committed to further deepening of cooperation with the Parliament of Georgia, elected on 8 October 2016 in competitive and well-administered elections where fundamental freedoms were generally respected;

3. Reaffirming its commitment to NATO’s Open Door Policy for all European democracies that share the values of our Alliance and are willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership and underlining that membership in NATO is a decision of the Allies and an aspirant country and cannot be influenced by a third country;

4. Convinced that Euro-Atlantic integration provides a path to stability and that the previous rounds of enlargement have enhanced Euro Atlantic and indeed global security;

5. Highly appreciating Georgia’s continuous and significant contribution to the common Euro Atlantic security and its sizeable participation in the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and NATO Response Force; and paying tribute to all the members of the Georgian Armed Forces who lost their lives or were injured in Afghanistan;

6. Reaffirming its unwavering support to Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration expressed, inter alia, in its Declaration 419 on NATO Enlargement adopted in Budapest, in May 2015, and Resolution 431 on NATO’s Post-Warsaw Defence and Deterrence Posture adopted in Istanbul, in November 2016; and recalling the provisions in the 3 April 2008 Bucharest Summit Declaration that Georgia will become a member of NATO;

7. Impressed by the high level of continuous support for the Euro-Atlantic integration among the people and main political parties in Georgia;

8. Welcoming the substantial political dialogue and practical cooperation between NATO and Georgia, including through integration mechanisms such as the NATO-Georgia Commission, the Annual National Programme and the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package;

9. Recognising the impressive progress made in implementing this Package and thereby strengthening Georgia’s resilience and defence capabilities, enhancing interoperability with Allied forces and helping Georgia to advance in its preparation towards membership in the Alliance;

10. Commending the joint efforts of NATO and Georgia to develop the Defence Institution Building School inaugurated in July 2016, as well as to achieve operational capability of the Joint Training and Evaluation Centre since its inauguration in August 2015, and the conduct of the joint NATO-Georgia exercise in November 2016;

11. Stressing that Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance contains all the practical tools to prepare for eventual membership, while taking note of the position of Allied leaders that Georgia will become a memberof NATO with Membership Action Plan as an integral part of the process;

12. Emphasising the strategic importance of the Black Sea region for common Euro-Atlantic security, recognising Georgia’s engagement in strategic discussions on Black Sea security and welcoming the decision of the Warsaw Summit to further strengthen the ongoing dialogue and cooperation with Georgia in this regard;

13. Commending the consistent and significant progress made by Georgia in further consolidating its democracy, improving transparency of its institutions and fostering economic development, thereby setting a very positive example for the entire region, while recognising that further efforts are needed to bolster the rule of law and the system of checks and balances, ensure

14. Reaffirming its strong support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia in its internationally recognised borders and condemning the continuous illegal occupation of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia, grave large-scale violations of human rights in the occupied regions, restrictions of freedom of movement across the Administrative Boundary Line, the continued violation of a six-point ceasefire agreement by the Russian Federation and steps taken towards the defacto annexation of these regions by Russia as well as extensive military build-up in these territories, which pose a serious threat to broader regional peace and security;

15. Welcoming Georgia’s constructive policy aimed at de-escalation of tensions with Russia including unilateral steps such as the pledge not to use force in restoring its territorial integrity, its constructive participation in the Geneva International Discussions as well as Tbilisi’s efforts to engage with the population of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of Georgia;

16. URGES the member governments and parliaments of the North Atlantic Alliance:
a. To continue rendering strong political and practical support to Georgia in the process of NATO integration;
b. to advance further the political dimension of Georgia’s NATO integration in order to create the conditions to grant the Membership Action Plan to Georgia in the future;
c. to contribute fully to the implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package and to consider additional practical ways to intensify efforts in support of Georgia, including through holding regular joint NATO-Georgia or bilateral exercises and assisting with the strengthening of its anti-aircraft and other defensive capabilities;
d. to help Georgia enhance its ability to tackle hybrid threats, including propaganda and disinformation campaigns aimed at eroding public support for the pro-Western strategic course;
e. to further intensify dialogue and practical cooperation with Georgia, as an aspirant country, on Black Sea security;

17. ENCOURAGES the Government and Parliament of Georgia:
a. to continue making full use of all the opportunities to advance its NATO integration process offered by the NATO-Georgia Commission, the Annual National Programme, its role as an enhanced opportunities partner, its participation in the Defence Capacity Building Initiative, and the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package;
b. to maintain the course of strengthening democratic institutions, maintaining the system of checks and balances, bolstering an independent judiciary, preserving media pluralism as well as enhancing dialogue and reducing tensions between the ruling and opposition parties;

18. CALLS UPON the Russian Federation:
a. to respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders, reverse the recognition of Georgia’s occupied regions as independent states and withdraw its military forces from these territories;
b. to fulfil its obligations vis-à-vis Georgia and abide by international law;
c. to reciprocate Georgia’s unilateral pledge not to use force and refrain from any provocative and aggressive steps towards Georgia;
d. to facilitate the access of international human rights observers to the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia;

19. PLEDGES, as it has done in the past, to continue supporting and providing assistance to Georgia, including through the Georgia-NATO Interparliamentary Council, in its NATO membership process.