Turkish FM says over 100 members of Gülen movement abducted abroad and brought to Turkey

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Over 100 alleged members of the Gülen movement have been abducted abroad by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) and brought back to Turkey as part of the Turkish government’s global manhunt, according to a statement made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

“We have been watching these traitors for two years and have brought the leading figures of FETÖ to our country. Some of these cases were covered by press, while others weren’t at the request of the countries involved. I can frankly say that more than 100 FETÖ-affiliated people have been brought to Turkey,” Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with Turkey’s pro-government CNN Türk on Sunday evening.

“FETÖ” is a derogatory term coined by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refer to the Gülen movement.

Lamenting that Europe had not done enough against alleged members of the Gülen movement, Çavuşoğlu said: “We have witnessed some mobility in the US over the past five to six months. We find the investigations, particularly those launched by the FBI, meaningful, but we expect them to be real and conclusive. We have conveyed this to the secretary of the state [Mike Pompeo].”

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 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 civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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