Moldova Rights Activists Target Erdogan at Football Match
Human rights activists from the "Occupy Guguta" movement in Moldova unveiled a banner on Tuesday night at the national football match between Moldova and Turkey, with a critical message for the authoritarian Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The activists at the Zimbru Stadium in Chisinau urged Erdogan to release seven Turkish teachers working in Moldova who were taken back to Turkey by force in September 2018 in a joint operation of the Moldovan and Turkish secret services.
"Erdogan, give us back our professors!" the activists wrote on their banner.
The seven teachers belonged to the private Orizont chain of high schools in Moldova, which are affiliated to the Hizmet movement of the exiled Turkish cleric and Erdogan foe Fetthulah Gulen - who Erdogan blames for a failed coup in 2016. Gulen, who lives in the US, has denied all connection with the affair.
The Turkish citizens were seized in an alleged deal between Erdogan and the pro-Russian President of Moldova, Igor Dodon, and the Moldovan oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, who then de facto ran the ruling Democratic Party-led government in Moldova.
Andrei Lutenco, an activist with Occupy Guguta movement, told BIRN that the banner was posted for about ten minutes until the private security at the stadium came and forced them to take it down.
"They did not invoke any reason, they just came and said take it down. They didn't explain why. At one point they ripped it [banner] from out of my hands. The security became a little violent and strong-armed my colleague, though it was not so serious," he said.
Lutenco added that his colleague had filed a complaint to the police about the incident.
"I hope the message will get to the Turkish press also because we can do nothing...