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Detained Turkish citizen Family asks for political asylum in Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, June 1
The family of the detained Demirel College head Mustafa Emre Cabuk is asking for political asylum in Georgia, as they believe their lives will be at risk if sent to Turkey, where thousands have been persecuted due to alleged links with US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen after last year’s failed coup in Turkey.

“We hope Georgia will grant us refugee status,” Cabuk’s wife Tuba Cabuk has said.

“We have lived here for several years. It will not be difficult for us to stay here. We plan to apply for an asylum and we hope the government will not refuse,” she said.

Tuba Cabuk thanked Georgia’s NGOs for their support, as they are strongly opposing Cabuk’s extradition to Turkey.

The detainee’s lawyer, Soso Baratashvili, says if Cabuk is extradited, he will be tortured and inhumanely treated in Turkey. But if Cabuk receives refugee status the extradition issue will not be discussed.

He stressed that Georgia’s Public Defender and international organizations are following the processes and it is generally believed that Cabuk has been unfairly detained.

On May 25, Tbilisi City Court sentenced Cabuk to three months of pre-extradition detention.

He was detained on charges of cooperation with a terrorist organization, on the demand of Turkey.

In the aftermath of the 15 July coup attempt in Turkey, which was led by military officers, 40,000 people were arrested and 120,000 sacked or suspended.

They included soldiers, police, teachers, and public servants - all of whom were accused of having links to the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.

President Tayyip Erdogan accuses Gulen of instigating the failed coup, a charge the cleric strongly denies.