Why is the Mongolian culture underestimated in America

The Mongolian constitutional state defies Turkish arbitrariness

A diplomatic crime thriller is taking place in the otherwise tranquil Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar. Turkey tries to kidnap the head of a school belonging to the Gülen movement. However, Ankara has underestimated the dynamism that an intact constitutional state can develop.

Mongolia, otherwise suffering from domestic political skirmishes, made a brief appearance on the world political stage on Friday and had to learn how brutally the Turkish rulers are proceeding against critical zeitgeist. The incident is all the more astonishing because relations between the two countries have been considered good for years. The Turkish aid organization Tica is active in numerous infrastructure projects in Mongolia. Many Mongolian students study in Turkey thanks to scholarships, and in Mongolia there are also mosques for the Kazakh minority that Turkey financed. The incident will put the hitherto good relations to a severe test, says Julian Dierkes, who conducts research at the University of British Columbia and is one of the most renowned Mongolia experts.

Incident of attempted abduction of Turkish educator from #Mongolia will almost certainly have an impact on # Mongolia-Turkey relations! How severe and what kind of impact will only become clear over coming weeks.https: //t.co/v319d2q5p1#MGLfp#veyselakcay

- Julian Dierkes (@jdierkes) July 28, 2018

Head of a school of the Gülen movement

The crime story began on Friday morning around 9 a.m. Mongolian time in Ulaanbaatar, when four or five unknown people took Veysel Akcay, the head of a Turkish-Mongolian school, into their power and put them in a van. The incident was reportedly recorded by surveillance cameras. Akcay has lived in Mongolia for 24 years; the school he heads was founded by the Gülen movement 25 years ago. Turkey, headed by President Erdogan, regards the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen as the mastermind behind the attempted coup in 2016. It happens again and again that the notorious Turkish secret service MIT kidnaps supporters of the Gülen movement abroad and brings them to Turkey.

In March, during his visit to Mongolia, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu asked the hosts to transfer the schools to the Gülen movement to the Maarif Foundation, which was established in 2016. One of the tasks of the foundation is to incorporate the schools of the Islamic preacher that are located abroad. Cavusoglu stressed that the educational institutions of the Gülen movement in Mongolia could poison the relationship between the two countries. According to the Turkish interpretation, the teachers and graduates of this educational institution are terrorists who are a threat not only to Turkey but also to other countries. The Turkish-Mongolian school is operated from Germany.

The Akcay incident shows how little Turkey cares about the sovereignty of other countries. After his disappearance, it quickly became apparent to his family, friends and colleagues that he had been abducted. They sounded the alarm and informed the police. Meanwhile, a Turkish Air Force aircraft approached the Mongolian capital. She was supposed to land at 1 p.m. and leave Ulaanbaatar with Akcay on board four hours later.

Colleagues and students show their solidarity at the airport for abducted Turkish teacher Veysel Akcay, one of few Turks who received Mongolian Friendship Medal by #Mongolia state. Credits to Ikon new media. pic.twitter.com/1hPuEuEt3i

- Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) July 27, 2018

But from the early afternoon, according to eyewitness reports, more and more friends, students, parents, relatives, activists and journalists gathered in front of the airport in Ulaanbaatar, including prominent politicians such as the former Mongolian Defense and Foreign Minister Lu Bold. The abductee's wife recorded a video message in several languages ​​and distributed it on social networks. In it, she asked the Mongolian government to stop the kidnapping of her husband. Mongolian politicians felt compelled to react to the incident.

Lengthy negotiations with the Turkish diplomats at the airport followed. At around 5 p.m., the Mongolian Prime Minister Khurelsukh stepped in, spoke a word of power and refused the Turkish plane permission to take off until the facts were clarified. How intact the Mongolian rule of law is, the circumstances show that the police are investigating the case and the attorney general is scrutinizing the proceedings.

U. Khurelsukh the Mongolian PM ordered just now not to allow this plane leave the country untill all issues are clear. https://t.co/2xYc3Yz6tn

- Jargal Dambadarjaa (@jargal_defacto) July 27, 2018

After further negotiations, the plane finally took off again in the evening without Akcay on board. At 11 p.m., the police in Ulaanbaatar announced that the school principal was still being questioned. At around 2.30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Akcay finally returned to his apartment in the Mongolian capital after a medical examination.

The Turkish teacher V. Akchay is released. The criminal case of kidnapping is opened according to the law. The Mongolian auhtority who cooperated with the Turkish security office will be hold responsible for the illegal actions. Rule of law means no one is above the law pic.twitter.com/20Clq6fksV

- Jargal Dambadarjaa (@jargal_defacto) July 27, 2018

Lots of open questions

The incident will not only severely test diplomatic relations between Turkey and Mongolia. Mongolian politics will also have to answer some unpleasant questions in the coming days, as Dierkes writes: Were Mongols also involved in the kidnapping? Were leading Mongolian politicians informed in advance of Ankara's plans? What role did the Turkish embassy in Ulaanbaatar play? Why was the machine allowed to start again before the processes were thoroughly investigated?