Turkey's access to the International Police Organization's (INTERPOL) databases has not been denied, and it is still able to report Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) members to the institution, an INTERPOL spokesperson told Daily Sabah, after some Turkish media outlets claimed Ankara's access to INTERPOL's databases had been suspended since last July. An INTERPOL spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to restrictions, told Daily Sabah that Turkey's access to INTERPOL's databases has never been denied, and it is still able to submit names on the international wanted persons list.
Underscoring that "INTERPOL is committed to supporting each of its 190 member countries in the interest of police cooperation," the spokesperson said, "Turkey has not been, nor is currently, blocked from accessing any of INTERPOL's databases, including for internationally wanted persons."
On Tuesday, the Turkish Karar daily claimed Turkey had been blocked from INTERPOL's databases and, as a result, not able to report FETÖ members to international police organizations, which led to the fugitives roaming free worldwide.
The news article quickly sparked outrage in Turkey, leading to fury and exasperation directed towards INTERPOL. However, the news turned out to be false, as the INTERPOL spokesperson stressed that the statement was simply not true.
"Article 2 of INTERPOL's constitution highlights the organization's role in encouraging the widest possible police cooperation within the limits of existing laws in different countries, and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," the spokesperson said.
Detailing the process of adding wanted people to the list, the spokesperson said: "When any member country provides information to INTERPOL for inclusion in any of its databases, including nominal or stolen and lost travel documents, checks are carried out to ensure the data complies with the Organization's constitution, regulations and rules. Information from any member country which is not compliant cannot be entered into any database."
The Karar daily report claimed that Turkey had been blocked from INTERPOL's databases after it allegedly wanted to include 60,000 alleged Gülenist militants in the list. The news article contended that INTERPOL found the number of wanted people too overwhelming, leading to Ankara's suspension from the organization.
The Turkish government's cross-border fight against FETÖ involves efforts by the Foreign and Justice Ministry, as well as police and intelligence services. The ministries have pursued intense diplomatic efforts, presenting evidence of the terrorist group's involvement in the coup attempt.
The FETÖ terrorist group, which posed as a religious charity to attract followers worldwide, managed to garner a following and establish a global network of schools and companies on every continent, spanning from the far corners of Africa all the way to the United States.
Following the deadly coup attempt on July 15, 2016, Turkey has been aggressively attempting to locate the presence of FETÖ across the globe, primarily focusing on the terrorist group's commercial entities. European countries, which have also been blamed for harboring supporters of other terrorist groups, have failed to respond to extradition requests, while Arab and Asian countries have positively supported Turkey's efforts.