Albanian police have reportedly detained a Turkish asylum seeker, Selami Şimşek, in order to deport him upon a request by the Turkish government over his alleged links to Turkey’ Gülen group.
According to Ceren Yurt, a Turkish journalist and a human rights activist, Şimşek is currently being held “in a white van in front of the Interior Ministry.”
“A friend of Selami Simsek said they watched the white van headed to the airport. Apparently, he will be kept at the police headquarter at the airport to be deported tonight,” Yurt tweeted.
According to the Bold Media, Şimşek fled Turkey after a coup attempt in 2016 and is belived to be deported by Albanian authorities upon a request by the Turkish government over his alleged links to Turkey’ Gülen group.
According to the Bold news, Şimşek is currently being held in this white van in front of the Interior Ministry in Tirana. He is expected to be taken to the airport by the Albanian authorities for deportation || https://t.co/HsGOEmZXtt pic.twitter.com/I0FgDCdsA5
— Turkey Purge (@TurkeyPurge) March 10, 2020
Erdoğan accuses Gülen of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016 and has demanded the extradition of various people tied to Gülen’s movement — including staff at schools it funded worldwide. Gülen denies any connection with the abortive putsch.
At its peak, the Gülen movement operated schools in 160 countries, from Afghanistan to the United States. Since the coup attempt, Turkey has pressured allies to shut down Gülen-run establishments.
In Turkey’s three-year purge since the coup attempt, more than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial and about 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs.
Ankara has defended the clampdown as a necessary response to the scale of the security threat that Turkey faces, vowing to eradicate Gülen’s network.