Dec 15 2017

Kosovo drops extradition of Turkey coup suspect

A prosecutor in Kosovo withdrew a case to extradite Turkish citizen Uğur Toksoy, accused by Ankara of belonging to the Fethullah Gulen movement, blamed for last year's failed military coup.

The prosecutor told the judge that he had asked the Turkish embassy to provide more evidence but had not received any, Reuters reported. He said he could start the case again if Turkey sends more evidence, it said.

“Justice in Kosovo has won with this verdict because there was no evidence for extradition,” Reuters cited Toksoy’s lawyer Adem Vokshi as saying. “If Turkey had proof about him, they would have sent it by now.”

Turkey is seeking the return of hundreds of people who fled following the coup attempt. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan immediately blamed the operation on Gulen, who resides in the United States, and police began rounding up tens of thousands of his alleged followers. Many countries such as Germany have resisted Turkey’s demands to extradite suspects, citing lack of evidence and human rights concerns.

Toksoy is one of two Turks in Kosovo named on a wanted list of 11 people issued by the public prosecutor in Turkey’s Hatay province bordering Syria and seen by Reuters. The others live in Austria, Thailand, Mauritania, Romania and Lithuania.

Turkey and Kosovo enjoy close political relations. Turkish aid agencies such as state-run Tika have provided millions of dollars in financial aid for the restoration of religious sites and other social projects.