That's when Ukrainian authorities arrested and extradited within days of each other two fellow Turkish nationals-- a journalist and an entrepreneur -- whom Ankara alleges are linked to a failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more than two years ago.
Both men had Ukrainian work and residency permits. Yet both were denied the legally mandated five-day appeal period and quickly deported.
The repatriations were part of Erdogan's relentless campaign "in the East [and] in the West" to pursue supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based preacher and onetime Erdogan ally with a global network of schools and nonprofits as well as millions of followers.
The United States' failure to hand over Gulen himself has frayed relations between Washington and Ankara, but it has not deterred Turkish officials' aggressive pursuit of Gulenists elsewhere -- with dozens of the 77-year-old exile's alleged supporters nabbed and forcibly returned to Turkey since the attempted overthrow in 2016.
Such abductions have sent a powerful message to Erdogdu and others in the Turkish dissident community in Ukraine who are sympathetic to Gulen and his dissident vision for a tolerant, hard-working Turkish society.
The deportations from Ukraine, which shares a shoreline on the Black Sea with Turkey and has deepened cooperation with its government in recent years, has fueled speculation about a secret quid pro quo between the two countries' leaders and evoked comparisons to the CIA's extrajudicial abductions of terrorist suspects after 9/11.
A veteran journalist and frequent critic of Turkey's increasingly autocratic president, Erdogdu has lived and worked legally in the Ukrainian capital for 13 years, most of it as a correspondent for the Cihan news agency.
But that all came crashing down in March 2016, when Turkish police raided Cihan's Istanbul headquarters hours after a court ruling placed it and Turkey's most popular newspaper, Zaman, under state control. Both were eventually shuttered over alleged links to Gulen.
Almost overnight, "I became a so-called terrorist," Erdogdu told RFE/RL over a collection of his article clippings in the modest high-rise apartment where he lives with his wife and three of their children.
Erdogdu, a proud Gulen "follower and supporter," is reportedly being sought by Turkish authorities for allegedly opposing the state and supporting the 2016 coup attempt. His name appeared on a leaked list of Turkish dissidents in Ukraine whom Ankara wants extradited.
Erdogdu insists he is no terrorist and had nothing to do with the coup. As a follower of Gulen, his "spiritual leader," Erdogdu said, he practices a tolerant Islam that promotes education, modesty, and hard work.
Afraid he may be "kidnapped" by Ukrainian security services he claims are working with their Turkish counterparts to spirit away dissidents like him, Erdogdu confines himself to his apartment, where he publishes a small news site that is critical of Erdogan.
"The streets are too dangerous for me," Erdogdu lamented, gesturing to the world outside his window.
Dozens Snatched Abroad
Back in Turkey, Erdogan has vowed to "cleanse" his country of its Gulen-linked enemies. His government has dismissed some 140,000 public servants and investigated on alleged terrorism charges more than 600,000 people. More than 50,000 have reportedly been formally charged and kept in jail during trial.
Turkish police detained 538 people between November 26 and December 3 alone, and on January 10 authorities disbarred 17 judges and prosecutors over alleged Gulen links.
Meanwhile, Ankara's campaign to round up alleged Gulen supporters anywhere in the world has expanded.
"If not today, then tomorrow, one day every member of the FETO traitors' front will pay for his treason against the country and the nation," Erdogan told a congress of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) a year ago.
The Turkish-led crackdown has already prompted school closures and more than 100 people being plucked from at least 18 countries.
Ankara even hinted recently that its intelligence "operations" against Gulenists could soon extend to the United States, although it was unclear how forcefully Turkey might play its hand in that NATO ally's territory.