Turkish gov’t requests that Kosovo extradite alleged members of Gülen movement

The Turkish government requested that the Kosovo administration extradite alleged members of the Gülen movement, during a visit to the country by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Reiterating the Turkish government’s baseless claims, Çavuşoğlu alleged that “FETÖ is a terrorist group. It attempted a coup in Turkey,” in Kosovo’s capital of Pristina on Friday.

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

“Tanks ran over people and they opened fire on our people from helicopters. Those terrorists can do the same in Kosovo,” he told a press conference with Behgjet Pacolli, his Kosovar counterpart. Çavuşoglu added, “We expect Kosovo to extradite the terrorists who should be returned to us.”

Çavusoglu also demanded closure of schools affiliated with the Gülen movement in Kosovo during a meeting with Pacolli, promising direct help for Kosovo joining Interpol. 

A team from Turkey’s notorious National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in cooperation with Kosovar intelligence abducted six teachers who were claimed to be members of the Gülen movement in March 2018.

This is the first visit of a Turkish government official to Kosovo after the scandal with the arrest and deportation of the six Turkish nationals in March.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Turkey have been the subject of legal proceedings in the last two years on charges of membership in the Gülen movement since the coup attempt in July 2016, a Turkish Justice Ministry official told a symposium on July 19, 2018.

“Legal proceedings have been carried out against 445,000 members of this organization,” Turkey’s pro-government Islamist news agency İLKHA quoted Turkish Justice Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ömer Faruk Aydıner as saying.

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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