Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) has abducted two overseas followers of the Gulen movement and forced them back to Turkey in the latest of such forced returns by the organization.
“MIT caught abroad another two terrorists with outstanding arrest warrants, as part of its operations under the fight against FETO,” state-run Anadolu news agency said Thursday.
The detainees were identified as Isa Ozdemir and Salih Zeki Yigit who were forced back in a private jet, operated by MIT, from Azerbaijan and Ukraine, respectively. The pair are accused of membership to the Gulen movement which the government calls FETO.
Media reported Wednesday that a Baku court had, earlier in the day, turned down Turkey’s request for Ozdemir’s deportation and the man was released from the detention center.
Turkish president Erdoğan accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 while the latter denies involvement.
More than 150,000 people have been detained and 90,000 were remanded in prison over Gulen links in Turkey since the summer of 2016. Meanwhile, Erdogan called on foreign governments to punish Gulenists in their own countries.
So far, a number of countries like 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 United Nations.
According to Turkish government’s narrative, MIT conducts such operations by itself in some countries and brings the suspects back without involvement of any other foreign law enforcement.