Mar 29 2018

Kosovan PM baffled as Turkey captures, deports six Gülenists

Six high-level members of the religious organisation Turkey’s government blames for the failed 2016 coup attempt have been apprehended in Kosovo and brought to Turkey, according to reports in the Turkish press.

The six are thought to be members of the organisation led by Fethullah Gülen, the Islamist preacher who the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has plotted a series of attempts to undermine the Turkish government culminating in the Jul. 16 2016 coup attempt.

After the coup was foiled, a large number of Gülen’s followers are thought to have escaped to the Balkans. The six Turkish citizens apprehended were in charge of two school networks in Kosovo, according to a report by the Turkish pro-government Daily Sabah.

One of the six, Osman Karakya, had played a role in the Ergenekon trials of secular military officers, according to the same newspaper’s report. The hundreds of military officers tried in Ergenekon and similar cases are widely thought to have been charged on the basis of evidence fabricated by Gülen’s followers in the judiciary and police force.

Various Turkish news sources reported that the capture of the six was carried out on Thursday in an operation by the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MIT).  

Kosovan Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, however, tweeted on Thursday evening that they had been deported in an operation conducted by the Kosovo Intelligence Agency, which he had not been informed about. Haradinaj declared that he would proceed according to his “legal and constitutional competencies.”

Further reports from Turkey said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had called Kosovan President Hashim Thaçi on Thursday night, as well as his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic. Details of whether the discussions touched on the captured Turkish citizens have not yet emerged.