Top Turkish coup suspect hiding in Europe, Erdoğan says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said a leading suspect in the July 2016 attempt to overthrow the Turkish government was lurking in Europe, Hürriyet newspaper reported.

Adil Öksüz, a former theology professor at Sakarya University, is accused of being a senior member of the Gülen movement led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen and playing a key role in coordinating the coup attempt.

"You look and see that he goes to several different countries, let's say he escapes to Belgium, from there he goes to Germany and so on," Erdoğan said.

The Turkish president said Öksüz and thousands of other suspected members of Gülen movement, what Ankara calls Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ), had been living under the protection of the governments of western countries.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Sunday that the Turkish government had knowledge of Öksüz’s whereabouts, but did not provide further information. And, state-run Anadolu Agency earlier reported that Öksüz was living in Germany.

Erdoğan said Turkey has asked the extradition of Gülenist suspects from European authorities and provided information on their locations.

"Nevertheless, the governments of these countries have not unfortunately delivered these FETÖ terrorists to us," he said.

Erdoğan also signalled a covert operation in which Öksüz could be “bundled up and brought back” Turkey. Earlier reports revealed that Turkey’s secret services abducted several suspected Gülenists from foreign countries.

However, a columnist for Sözcü daily, Saygı Öztürk, on Tuesday said that several government officials even helped Öksüz's escape in 2016 and Turkey had not even issued a red notice for him yet despite the government's persistent extradition requests in public.