Blunder in Turkey-Kosovo extradition agreement uncovered

 

An extradition agreement between Kosovo and Turkey signed in 2011 was delayed for seven years because the Turkish side added a sentence to the Turkish version of the agreement that was not found in either the English or Albanian versions.

According to confidential documents exchanged between the Turkish and Albanian foreign ministries, copies of which were obtained by Nordic Monitor, the mistake was noticed by the Turkish Parliament commission that was reviewing the agreement.

In a letter submitted to the Kosovar Foreign Ministry by the Turkish Embassy in Pristina on May 23, 2012, the Turkish side apologized for adding a sentence to Article 25 which stated that the extradition treaty would be valid retroactively if agreed mutually. “It [the sentence] was unintentionally left in the Turkish version,” the letter said, asking for approval of an amendment to the agreement to delete the sentence.

Exchange of letters reporting the error between the Turkish text and English/Albanian versions, asking for a consent to the modification.

According to Turkish law, an amendment to a treaty can only be made through an exchange of diplomatic notes. The Turkish document said the deletion of the sentence in the Turkish version was necessary to prevent future misunderstandings.

In response to the letter, the Kosovar Foreign Ministry sent a document on August 17, 2012, confirming its approval of the deletion of the sentence from the Turkish version.

The Turkish parliament ratified the agreement on October 10, 2017, five years later, in Law No. 7042. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed the bill into law on January 17, 2018, making the agreement part of Turkish law.

The red underlined part was added to the Turkish version of the agreement.

 

In a shocking move less than three months after the extradition agreement between the two countries went into effect, the Turkish intelligence agency abducted 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.

Instead of going through legal channels with the use of the extradition agreement, the Turkish government ordered the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to kidnap these people in cooperation with some elements of the Kosovar security forces. The operation sparked international condemnation and was criticized by the European Union.

The Kosovar parliament set up a committee to investigate how six Turkish citizens were abducted and illegally deported to Turkey in a move that activists say violated international treaties and human rights.

 

6 Turkish Citizen Kidnapped by Turkish Intelligent Service

 

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