Three Turkish educators who were rendered to Turkey from Gabon by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) on April 8 have been arrested for alleged “membership in a terrorist organization” and “international spying,” the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.
The educators are believed to be affiliated with Turkey’s Gülen group, which is a accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The group denies any involvement.
Osman Özpınar, İbrahim Akbaş and Adnan Demirönal were arrested by the Istanbul Penal Court of Peace after testifying at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The three men, who were detained in Gabon on March 23, were taken to Turkey from Libreville by private jet and were interrogated by Turkish police.
A high criminal court in the Turkish capital of Ankara on April 18 handed down a jail sentence of 18 years to Alaaddin Duman, a teacher who was deported from Malaysia to Turkey due to his links to the Gülen movement in 2016, on terror charges.
Duman was given the jail sentence by the Ankara 15th High Criminal Court on Tuesday on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.
On March 29, MIT abducted six Turkish nationals linked to the Gülen movement from Kosovo.
The incident sent shockwaves around the world and in Kosovo, where the prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, who said he was unaware of the removal of the Turkish nationals to Turkey, fired the country’s interior minister and head of the intelligence service for failing to inform him about the arrest of the Turkish nationals.
Maja Kocijancic, an EU spokesperson, has slammed the arrest and deportation of six Turkish nationals from Kosovo due to their links to the Gülen movement, saying the incident raises questions about respect for the due process of law.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in late March 2018 exposed the details of torture cases in Turkey last year and called on the Turkish government to enforce its proclaimed policy of zero tolerance for torture.
So far, a number of countries including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Georgia, Pakistan, Sudan 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.