Federal prosecutors in Switzerland are investigating whether Turkish diplomats and intelligence officers planned to drug and kidnap a Swiss-Turkish businessman shortly after the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, local media said.
A group of five including the diplomats from the Turkish embassy in Bern, intelligence officers and others met several times at a cemetery and a car garage near Zurich’s Oberland, media said adding that the targeted businessman would be knocked out with drops of liquid the group wanted to drop into his food according the plan. Swiss intelligence reportedly found out about the plan while it was being planned.
The businessman, around 50 years old and with known ties to the Gulen movement, is still under police protection.
One of the two diplomats linked to the plot to snatch the businessman remained in office in Bern while a second had since returned to Turkey, media added.
Prosecutors also said they had begun a criminal inquiry into possible foreign spying on Switzerland’s Turkish community.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu refused to respond to the allegations when a journalist asked a related question during a press conference in Kazakhstan on Friday. Cavusoglu, instead, accused the Kazakh journalist of asking FETO style questions. FETO [short for the alleged Fethullahist Terror Group] is a buzzword the Turkish government coined to define the Gulen movement.
— Turkey Purge (@TurkeyPurge) March 16, 2018
Turkish government holds the Gulen movement responsible for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt while the latter denies involvement in the coup and any terror activities. More than 126,000 people have been detained over ties to the movement in Turkey so far while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier called on foreign governments to punish Gulen followers in their own countries.
In May Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Georgia and Myanmar 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 UN.