Local sources say 6 abducted Gülen movement followers still in Kosovo

Six people who used to work at schools affiliated with the Gülen movement are still being held in Kosovo, according to reliable local sources.

The Brussels-based Vocal Europe also reported that the group was at Pristina Airport on Friday evening.

Meanwhile, Freedom House’s Nate Schenkkan tweeted: *Claim* I’m hearing is Kosovo detainees are being taken to airport right now for their actual transfer to Turkey. Kosovo authorities should prevent them from being taken from Kosovo territory.”

Earlier the same day, the wife of Kahraman Demirez, one of the six abductees, said the group  was still being kept at the Turkish Embassy in Pristina and called on people for support.

“We are now sure that our husbands are being kept at the Turkish Embassy. We are waiting here. The number of police officers is rising. Our vigil will continue unless we hear from them. We are waiting for you to support us,” a Twitter account with the username, @o_gulyigit tweeted Friday afternoon.

The wife of Hasan Hüseyin Günakan said her husband was captured in the same way as people in other countries who were abducted due to the their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

“The other police officer battered my son, took him out of the car, grabbed him on his jaw and tried to close his mouth and drag him away. The police on the other side also tried to take my husband out of the car. … They did not give any information. They did not tell us politely that we would be taken to a police station. They were instead behaving like they were abducting us. And we were scared because we knew about Erdogan’s targeting of people like us in other countries. We thought it was our turn. We were scared because they approached us in a similar way,” she told local media.

Both Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and President Hashim Thaçi said they were not informed about the operation, expressing regret over the incident. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan praised the operation, saying: “Wherever they are, we will package them up and bring them [to Turkey], God willing.”

Kosovo police early on Thursday arrested six Turkish nationals who used to work at a group of schools affiliated with the Gülen movement. Turkey’s security sources earlier told the state-run Anadolu news agency that the detained people — Cihan Özkan, Kahraman Demirez, Hasan Hüseyin Günakan, Mustafa Erdem, Osman Karakaya and Yusuf Karabina — were brought to Turkey via a private aircraft by Turkey’s notorious National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

So far , a number of countries including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Georgia and Myanmar have handed over academics, businessmen and school principals upon the Turkish government’s request despite the fact that some of those victims already had refugee status with the United Nations.

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.” (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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