Seven members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) including police officers were extradited to Turkey after they were captured in the back of a truck traveling to Romania from Bulgaria. The suspects were taken into custody yesterday in the northwestern city of Edirne bordering Bulgaria, five days after they were nabbed in Bulgaria.
FETÖ, regarded more dangerous than other terrorist groups due to the secretive nature of its militants and wide clout in Turkey and the world, is blamed for the July 15 coup attempt. Since the coup was foiled, authorities have stepped up the manhunt against the terror suspects.
Yunus D., Abdülkadir Ç. and Uğur S., three senior police officers who were dismissed from duty during an investigation into FETÖ and were wanted for membership in the cult, Fethi A., a former journalist for FETÖ's now-defunct mouthpiece Zaman newspaper, Yunus Hayri Y., an academic at İnönü University, a local businessman and a teacher were members of the diverse group of cult members. Bulgarian officials found the group hiding in the back of the truck with an unspecified cargo as it was leaving Bulgaria and the truck driver was arrested there on charges of human smuggling.
Doğan News Agency said a court in Edirne initially released Soner Ö. as he was charged with illegal immigration, an offense that allows release pending trial, in a controversial ruling and he was later recaptured as he was leaving the city, this time on charges of FETÖ membership and was imprisoned.
FETÖ, which has seen members and sympathizers dismissed from state institutions, including the police and judiciary systems over the past three years, was designated by Turkish authorities as a national threat and classified as a terrorist group. Since the July 15 coup attempt, Turkey has detained and arrested hundreds of members of the terror group. A string of judicial inquiries over the past two years have revealed that Gülenists illegally wiretapped thousands of people thanks to their infiltrators in police and judiciary institutions and imprisoned their critics or anyone seen as an obstacle to the group's attempts to gain further clout through sham trials.
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