Dec 02 2017

EU needs more evidence to declare Gülen a terrorist - counter-terrorism chief

The European Union would need hard evidence to consider U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen’s followers a “terrorist organisation,” the EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The Turkish government accuses Gülen of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt, and calls his followers the Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ).

Gülen has publicly condemned the failed coup and denied the allegations.

Kerchove said:

As for FETÖ, we don’t see it as a terrorist organisation, and I don’t believe the EU is likely to change its position soon... You need not only circumstantial evidence - like just downloading an app - but concrete substantive data which shows that they were involved.

The app Kerchove is referring to is ByLock, an encrypted messaging app that Turkish law enforcement deems to be evidence of coup plotting, Reuters wrote. The approximately 50,000 people detained for alleged links to the Gülen network not only include ByLock users but also those who have made phone calls to ByLock users.

Turkey has so far failed to convince the U.S. that they should extradite Gülen. 

Germany’s intelligence agency, meanwhile, is also not convinced that Gülen was behind the coup, meaning that Germany is refusing to extradite people Ankara says are linked to Gülen’s network, Reuters said.