Albania rejects Ankara’s call to extradite Turkish nationals over alleged Gülen links

After Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called on Albania to close down schools over their alleged links to the Gülen movement and “extradite the terrorists,” Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati said Tirana had to respect its international obligations on extradition, Balkan Insight reported.

Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference with Bushati in Tirana on Friday that he wanted to see Albania close down a network of schools that he called “anti-Turkish institutions.”

“There is a serious [Gülen network] structure in Albania. They have penetrated very deeply into the state system,” Çavuşoğlu said.

However, Bushati replied that as a NATO member and candidate for EU membership, Tirana is bound by international agreements on extradition that cannot be overturned at press conferences.

“Albania adheres to several important international documents relating to extradition,” Bushati said. “Any such policy should follow the diplomatic route and not press conferences,” he added.

Once a close ally of Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Gülen has since morphed into his bitterest foe. Now based in the US, he has denied playing any role in a failed 2016 coup.

Despite this, Turkey has pressed its neighbors and allies in the region to close any Gülen-linked institutions and extradite their staff to Turkey.

In September seven Turkish teachers residing in Moldova were apprehended by Turkish operatives with the collaboration of the Moldovan security agency.

Erdoğan gifts Moldovan president with riot control vehicles

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gifted Moldovan President Igor Dodon with two riot control vehicles with water cannons during an official visit to Moldova on Thursday, according to a report by online news outlet Diken.

Erdoğan, who began his visit in the Moldovan capital of Chișinău before heading to the country’s autonomous region of Gagauzia, stressed Ankara’s unwavering support for Moldova, highlighting that the vehicles were gifted to eliminate what he said were the Moldovan presidential palace’s “shortcomings.’’

Erdoğan, while speaking to the press, stressed investments by the government-run Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) in Moldova, stating: “Starting with TİKA, our municipalities and official institutions, the ministries of Youth and Sports and Urban Planning and Transportation will work on many projects with Moldovan officials… We have contributed in every way we can in order to ensure that Moldova, along with all its regions, develops. God willing, we will continue to stand with the people of Moldova and the Gagauzia Turks.’’

Erdoğan’s visit to Moldova comes weeks after seven Turkish teachers were expelled from the country accused of terrorism-related activities in a joint plan by the Turkish and Moldovan intelligence agencies. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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