Kosovo bank reportedly freezes accounts of alleged followers of Gülen movement

As a new stage of persecution of Turkish nationals affiliated with the Gülen movement in line with the oppression of Turkish government led by Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a bank in Kosovo has reportedly suspended bank accounts of some alleged followers of the movement who live in the Balkan country.

According to a report by Kallxo.com on Wednesday, some employees of Mehmet Akif College, a high school affiliated with the Gülen movement in Kosovo, were informed that their bank accounts have been frozen.

Also, the employees were asked to visit the bank to close out their accounts within 30 days, after which they would be shuttered in any case. Nazmi Ulus, the head of the school, confirmed to kallxo.com that some of his employees had faced difficulties accessing their accounts.

The six Turkish nationals, educators Cihan Özkan, Kahraman Demirez, Hasan Hüseyin Günakan, Mustafa Erdem and Yusuf Karabina who were working for a group of schools affiliated with the Gülen movement in Kosovo, along with Dr. Osman Karakaya, were detained by Kosovo intelligence at Turkish government’s request and handed over to Turkey’s notorious National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) on March 29.

After the abduction and illegal deportation scandal, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj dismissed Minister of Interior and chief of intelligence claiming that he was not informed of the operation.

Twenty-eight members of the European Parliament sent a letter on Monday to Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi and Kosovo Prime Minister Haradinaj on the illegal abduction and controversial deportation of six Turkish nationals and urged them to fully respect all judicial procedures in line with European principles and standards.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and other civil servants since July 2016. Turkey’s interior minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665 people have been arrested. On December 13, the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 2, 2017. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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