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Dozens Rally In Kyrgyz Capital Demanding Authorities Find Missing Turkish Educator

Protesters gather near the parliament building demanding Orhan Inan be found on June 3.
Protesters gather near the parliament building demanding Orhan Inan be found on June 3.

BISHKEK -- Dozens of people have rallied in front of the Kyrgyz parliament building in Bishkek, demanding the government find the leader of the Sapat education network after the Turkish native went missing in the Central Asian country.

The protesters, many of whom believe that Orhan Inan was abducted by the Turkish secret services, demonstrated on June 3 following recent similar rallies in front of the Turkish Embassy in Bishkek and the government building.

The demonstrators held placards saying: "Orhan is a Kyrgyz citizen. Find him!"

Inan, who has lived in Kyrgyzstan since 1995 and holds Kyrgyz citizenship, disappeared late on May 31.

His car with was found in downtown Bishkek early in the morning on June 1 with the doors wide open and valuable items still inside seemingly untouched.

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov has ordered the Interior Ministry to find Inan and the Bishkek police have created a special investigative group to locate Inan.

The director of Sapat, Nurlan Kudaiberdiev, said on June 1 that Inan might have been kidnapped by Turkish agents, though he did not present any evidence to back up his claim.

In 2019, Ankara officially requested Bishkek extradite two men working for the Sapat network in Kyrgyzstan -- Sinan Yilmaz and Sancar Abdulhakim -- saying they were wanted in Turkey on unspecified charges.

The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office ruled in favor of extraditing the two men at the time, but the decision was later cancelled by a Bishkek court following rallies protesting the move.

Over the past five years, Turkey has requested Kyrgyzstan shut down Sapat, saying that it was linked to U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for a failed coup in 2016, which Gulen denies.

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