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

The Turkish government repeated its extradition request for three Turkish nationals from Cambodia on Tuesday as part of its massive post-coup global witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said during a joint news conference with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, “We have repeated our extradition request to Cambodia on the issue of three high profile FETÖ members.”

“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.

Çavuşoğlu said that he talked about the Gülen movement with his Cambodian counterpart and said Turkey is ready to take over the schools affiliated with the Gülen movement through the government’s Maarif Foundation.

Sokhonn said his country is “in a close cooperation with Turkey” over FETÖ and added, “As a friend of Turkey, Cambodia will continue to support Turkey in its operations against FETÖ.” Sokhonn also said that Prime Minister Hun Sen will visit Turkey at the end of October.

The Turkish government has launched both a domestic and a global crackdown against the Gülen movement. More than 100 Gülen-linked Turkish nationals were brought back to Turkey through intelligence service operations and with the cooperation of other countries, including Moldova, Kosovo, Pakistan, Qatar, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Gabon and Myanmar.

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 a coup attempt on July 15, 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 about 170,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016. 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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