Unidentified assailants damaged a car belonging to an ex-police chief from Turkey living in exile in Sweden after he was recently targeted by a daily close to the Turkish government that revealed his home address and secretly taken photos, Turkish Minute reported, citing the TR724 news website.
— Murat ÇETİNER (@muratcetiner) November 4, 2022
“It looks like your article has achieved its goal,” Murat Çetiner tweeted, tagging Sabah news coordinator Abdurrahman Şimşek, who wrote the report about him, and posting a picture of his car with a broken back window.
“A new page has been added to your criminal record. Should I send the bill [for repair] to Serhat or Hakan,” said Çetiner, referring to Serhat Albayrak, the CEO of the Turkuvaz Media Group, which owns the Sabah daily, and head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Hakan Fidan.
Sabah targeted Çetiner in a report on its front page on Oct. 25. Çetiner, who was involved in investigating activities in Turkey of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), is one of the political dissidents whose extradition Turkey is demanding from the Swedish government in exchange for dropping its objection to the Nordic country’s NATO membership.
The daily published secretly taken photos of Çetiner walking by a lake with his wife. The paper also revealed Çetiner’s address in addition to publishing pictures of his house and car.
Sabah also recently targeted four journalists in exile — Cevheri Güven in Germany and Abdullah Bozkurt, Bülent Keneş and Levent Kenez in Sweden — revealing their addresses and secretly taken photos on its front page.
The journalists and Çetiner believe MİT has been conducting surveillance on them.
Çetiner was involved in an investigation that targeted top IRGC operatives and their alleged Turkish associates and was shut down in 2014 after three years by prosecutor İrfan Fidan, who was appointed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a position on Turkey’s highest court last year.
Investigators, prosecutors and judges who were previously involved in the criminal probe were all sacked and later arrested on trumped-up charges as part of a crackdown on the police and judiciary that followed a graft probe which targeted Erdoğan’s cronies in late 2013.
Çetiner moved to Sweden to escape a similar fate, but Turkish intelligence has been “breathing down on his neck,” journalist Bozkurt said in a tweet last month, adding that the US government sanctioned key suspects named in the probe in May, including Hakkı Selçuk Şanlı, Abdulhamit Çelik, Seyyid Cemal Gündüz and IRGC official Behnam Shahriyari, “all closely linked to Hakan Fidan, Turkish Intel chief.”
NATO member Turkey is threatening to derail Sweden and Finland’s attempts to join the Western defense alliance unless they extradite dozens of people Ankara accuses of “terrorism” including Çetiner.
A non-binding deal Sweden and fellow NATO aspirant Finland signed with Turkey in June commits them to “expeditiously and thoroughly” examine Ankara’s requests for suspects linked to the Gülen movement and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.
Both Swedish and Finnish government officials said they will continue to respect national and international laws regarding Turkey’s extradition requests and that the decision for extraditions will be up to independent authorities and the courts.
The seven Gülen-linked political dissidents whose extradition Turkey is seeking from Sweden, according to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency earlier this month, are writer Harun Tokak, journalists Keneş and Kenez, Yılmaz Aytan, Orhan Er, Harun Ayvaz and Çetiner, who all face trials in Turkey due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup. The movement denies the allegation.
Some alleged PKK members are also on Turkey’s list, according to Anadolu, which said Sweden earlier rejected Turkey’s extradition requests for these people.