Ankara’s final attempt to extradite media boss İpek from UK fails

Turkey has failed in its final attempt to extradite a dispossessed media proprietor whose newspapers and TV stations have been confiscated by Turkish officials for criticising President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

A high court in London upheld that a 2018 ruling that the case against Hamdi Akın İpek, the chairman of the Koza-İpek Group and Koza Ltd., was politically motivated, it said.

Ankara accuses İpek with membership in the Gülen movement and providing financial support to the group led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen who Ankara holds responsible for the 2016 failed coup attempt. While İpek does not deny his affiliation to the group, he rejects claims of giving it any financial support.

The media tycoon, who has lived in Britain since 2015 was arrested last year when Ankara began extradition proceedings against him along with several other expatriate Turkish citizens.

British courts have repeatedly rejected Turkish extradition requests following the failed coup, the Guardian said, citing the country’s prison conditions as being unsafe. Lawyers have also stated that defendants would have no chance of a fair trial in light of repeated purges of judges.

The London court on Tuesday dismissed the Turkish government’s appeal,  discharging İpek, along with Ali Çelik and Talip Büyük, from the extradition request, the Guardian said.

“I have always had faith that the British justice system would expose the truth behind this politically motivated extradition request,’’ İpek said following the verdict. “Given the unequivocal nature of the original judgment, I was surprised and disappointed by the government of Turkey’s decision to appeal, which only serves to underline that they have no respect for the rule of law and are acting out of politically motivated malice.”

İpek also stressed that the rule of law in Turkey had collapsed and called on the world to take note of the human rights abuses taking place in the country.

The Gülen movement has millions of followers in Turkey and abroad, running schools and non-government organisations in the United States and many other countries. Tens of thousands of suspected members were detained following the 2016 coup attempt including bureaucrats, teachers and journalists.