Top Turkish coup attempt suspect confirmed hiding in Germany – newspaper

The number two suspect in the Turkish coup attempt case is hiding in Germany, a Turkish moderate Islamist newspaper said.

“According to Karar’s trustworthy sources, the button was pushed (by the Turkish government) on the extradition case after the claims over (Adil) Öksüz having applied for asylum in that country were substantiated,” Karar newspaper said.

Öksüz, an academic theologian, was present on the Akıncı air base in Ankara, which is thought to have been the coup headquarters, on the night of July 15, 2016 when the plan to topple the government was carried out.

The charges against him said he was the “air force imam” who acted as a channel of communication between different Gülen movement cells within the air force and the wider movement. Turkey says Pennsylvania-based preacher Fethullah Gülen masterminded the plot and has demanded U.S. authorities extradite him.

Öksüz was arrested fleeing the base on the morning after the coup, then released after testifying at a local courthouse. According to the indictment, he then flew to Istanbul and returned to his home town of Sakarya before disappearing three days later.

“After a time hiding in (Gülenist) safe houses, our sources said that they had settled on (the idea that) he had either escaped to Georgia with a fake identity or was sent abroad by private plane,” Karar said.

Turkey sent a diplomatic note in August asking for a German judge to consider its case for Öksüz to be returned. At that time, Berlin publicly denied knowing Öksüz’s whereabouts, and according to Karar, did not respond to the note.

This week, the news emerged that Turkish authorities had prepared a full formal extradition request in the light of their belief that Öksüz was residing in Germany.