Kosovo illegally extradited Turkish citizens on Erdoğan's request - The Times

Kosovan authorities lawlessly deported six Turkish citizens without the knowledge of the country’s prime minister at the request of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, British daily The Times said on Monday.

The Turkish citizens, including five linked to the Gülen movement, a religious group Turkey blames for the 2016 coup attempt, were sent to Turkey after being arrested one year ago and are now behind bars in western Turkey's Silivri Prison, according to the Times.

"An investigation by a Kosovan parliamentary committee has revealed the extent of Mr Erdoğan’s pursuit of political opponents overseas, and how Ankara used a security agency that acted without the knowledge of Ramush Haradinaj, the Kosovan prime minister," the newspaper said.

The extraditions sparked an outcry in the Western Balkan country after Haradinaj tweeted that he had not been informed about the operation, according to The Times.

The British daily quoted Xhelal Svecla, the parliamentary committee's chairman, as saying the order came from within the highest institutions.

“The Kosovo Intelligence Agency (KIA) got the request from the Turkish side to hand over and deport six Turkish nationals residing legally in Kosovo,” Svecla said. “There are suspicions that the list was bigger . . . According to our findings this goes even higher than our secret service.”

The newspaper cited Ankara's growing financial support to Kosovo and said the case of the six extradited men reveals Turkey’s influence in the country.