Kosovo investigates 22 police officers over expulsion of Turkish nationals

A woman protesting the arrest of six Turkish nationals in Kosovo on March 29.

Kosovo’s special prosecutors are investigating the role of 22 police officers in last year’s arrest and extradition of six Turkish nationals, a move activists called human rights violations, the prosecutors said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The six Turks were arrested in Kosovo at Turkey’s request in March 2018 over alleged links to schools financed by the Gülen movement.

“We are also interviewing more suspects in relation to this case,” Ekrem Lutfiu, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, told Reuters.

Days after the six men were expelled, Kosovo’s prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, dismissed the country’s interior minister and secret service chief because he was not told the six would be deported to Turkey.

A parliament commission report concluded that the deportation was illegal and the constitution was violated 31 times during the arrests.

Kosovo’s opposition has accused President Hashim Thaci of ordering the deportations because of his close relations with Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan. Thaci has denied any wrongdoing.

Kosovar President Hashim Thaci in a televised interview with T7 in April 2018 admitted that the arrest and deportation of the six Turkish men suspected of links to Fethullah Gülen’s movement was wrong.

“This process should not have happened under any circumstances. The action against them was wrong. Relevant mechanisms should explain in detail what happened with the deportation of the Turkish men,” Thaci said, contradicting his earlier public stance.

At its peak, the Gülen movement operated schools in 160 countries, from Afghanistan to the United States. Since the coup attempt, Turkey has pressured allies to shut down Gülen-run establishments. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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