Turkey’s official news agency refutes claims of Malaysian deputy PM and police chief over three Turks

Turkish government’s official news agency refutes the claims of Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar and stated that Turkish intelligence involved in a covert operation in Malaysia to abduct, detain and deport three Turkish nationals over their alleged links with the Gülen movement. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency (AA) reported that a secret team from Turkey composed of intelligence officers, police officers and even an anesthesia specialist involved in abductions.

AA has reported on Thursday that officials from several Turkish institutions were actively involved in the forced return of three Turkish nationals from Malaysia over their alleged links with the Gülen movement last week.

Three Turkish nationals — Turgay Karaman, İhsan Aslan and İsmet Özçelik — were detained by Malaysian officials in Kuala Lumpur and deported to Turkey on May 11. Özeçelik, Karaman and Aslan were taken into custody upon their arrival in Ankara as part of post-coup witch hunt targeting the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the attempt.

Even though Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar earlier told  the media that the three Turkish nationals were arrested without any request from the Turkish government and they were arrested in connection with activities that threatened Malaysia’s national security. However, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported otherwise.

According to a report of state-run Anadolu news agency (AA), officials from the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT), an anti-terror police unit and an anesthetist were tasked with participation in the operation in Kuala Lumpur. The anesthetist was standing by to intervene in Özçelik’s detention if he resisted, the agency added.

Özcelik is a former board member of Konya-based Mevlana University, which was closed down over alleged Gülen links in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. While Karaman was the headmaster of an international school in the Malaysian city of Ipoh, Aslan was a member of the Malaysian-Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an allegedly Gülen-linked business association based in Kuala Lumpur.

A Turkish delegation shared information about three Turkish nationals with a Malaysian spy agency and law enforcement, AA said, adding that they used code names to disguise themselves. Turkey’s involvement was so confidential that officials did not even talk about it with family members, AA underlined.

Malaysian authorities said the Turks were deported over alleged links to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in a controversial accusation, drawing criticism from human rights organizations Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Office.

Previously, in October 2016, two other Turkish nationals were detained in Malaysia and were deported the following day. Both men were arrested upon their return to Turkey.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier called on foreign governments to punish Gülen followers in their own countries. Only a few countries including Saudi Arabia and Malaysia have complied with the request so far. Turkey has already detained more than 120,000 people over their alleged ties to the movement at home before spreading its crackdown to overseas. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) May 18, 2107

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