Turkish diplomat who coordinated abductions in Kosovo named human rights chief in Turkey

In what can be seen as a scandalous move by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a Turkish ambassador who coordinated the abduction of dissidents in Kosovo, has become chief of the human rights department at the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Former Turkish Ambassador in Pristina Kıvılcım Kılıç was rewarded for her services in Kosovo by President Erdoğan, who appointed her director general for the Council of Europe and Human Rights at the foreign ministry.

Following a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, President Erdoğan’s loyal envoys, including radical Islamist and ultranationalist diplomats, coordinated intelligence operations on foreign soil targeting dissidents.

Ambassador Kılıç led the local elements of an intelligence operation carried out by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in Kosovo to abduct six Turkish nationals — educators Cihan Özkan, Kahraman Demirez, Hasan Hüseyin Günakan, Mustafa Erdem and Yusuf Karabina — who were working for a group of schools affiliated with the Gülen movement in Kosovo, along with Dr. Osman Karakaya, on March 29, 2018. It was alleged that MİT was instructed to kidnap five Turks but that Özkan was added to the list in Pristina by Ambassador Kılıç.

According to local sources in Kosovo, Turkey’s Pristina embassy was key to the logistics and planning of the abduction and served as a detention center for the abduction operation in Kosovo. The Turkish nationals were kept for a time at the embassy chancery or at the residence of then-Turkish Ambassador Kılıç. The Cumhuriyet daily reported that pictures were taken on the Turkish Embassy premises in Pristina by the state-run Anadolu news agency after their arrest.