Mongolia grounds Turkish jet, foils abduction attempt

Mongolian authorities have reportedly grounded a Turkish Air Force plane, foiling an attempt by the Turkish government to abduct one of their own citizens with suspected links to an alleged criminal organisation.

The citizen, Veysel Akçay, was reportedly snatched by five men outside his home in the Mongolian capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Akçay, an educator settled in Mongolia, is allegedly a member of the Gülen movement, followers of an Islamist preacher the Turkish government says plotted the July 2016 coup attempt.

Family and friends notified the police when Akçay failed to show up for work, and the Mongolian authorities raced to Genghis Khan international airport, where a small passenger plane operated by the Turkish Air Force had landed, news site i24 reported.

Akçay was finally released after an eight-hour stand-off at the airport and the summoning of Turkish diplomats, and was filmed by local media being escorted to a car after the incident.

"We are an independent nation. Do you think anyone can do abductions in our country?" parliamentarian Baasankhuu Oktaybri wrote on Twitter about the affair, which Mongolian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Battsetseg Batmunkh called "a serious violation of Mongolia's independence and sovereignty".

Since the coup attempt, Turkey has been involved in a series of international operations to apprehend suspected members of the Gülen movement, which operates businesses and education centres around the world.

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