Turkey has ranked second in the world in repression of its citizens living outside the country since 2014, according to a report by Freedom House. The Turkish government has accelerated its efforts of transnational repression against its citizens who are political refugees, especially since the 2016 Coup attempt according to the report.
Freedom House defines transnational repression as “governments reaching across borders to silence dissent among diasporas and exiles, including through assassinations, illegal deportations, abductions, digital threats, Interpol abuse, and family intimidation.”
Lastly, the Russian invasion of Ukraine caused a disruption in the established safety measures across Europe, giving Turkey a chance to further its already widespread efforts to suppress individuals and groups across borders.
The database on Transnational Repression by Freedom House reveals that Turkish officials have carried out 132 instances of repressive acts.
One of the most recent victims of extrajudicial abductions, also known as renditions, is a businessman called Uğur Demirok. He was kidnapped by Turkey's intelligence agency in Azerbaijan, the report noted.
In May, when Sweden and Finland submitted their applications to join The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Turkey declined to endorse their proposals unless Sweden surrendered a group of individuals that Turkey had been seeking, which included multiple journalists. After months of efforts, Turkey approved Finland's NATO bid.
Despite Turkey's demands, Sweden's authorities have so far declined to violate the rule of law and protections for asylum seekers. Nonetheless, Turkey is still attempting to use NATO accession as leverage for extraditions. Meanwhile, individuals living in Europe who are being pursued by Turkey for extradition are still experiencing intimidation and attacks, according to the report.
"More and more authoritarian governments are trying to exert control over their own diasporas and people in exile, despite growing sensitization around the world," Freedom House President Michael Abramowitz said in a statement on the release of the report.