Sweden grants asylum to suspected FETÖ members in Afghanistan

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 25.01.2019 00:07

Afghan media outlets reported that Sami Yavuz and Yılmaz Ayten, who were teachers at schools run by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in Afghanistan, were granted asylum by Sweden.

The two men were arrested in 2017 before they were released and put under house arrest in Kabul. ToloNews' website, quoting an official from a FETÖ-run school in Afghanistan, said Ayten and Yavuz, whose extraditions were sought by Turkey, had filed asylum applications in the United Nations office in Kabul and left Afghanistan.

Afghanistan maintains close ties with Turkey and had handed over 12 schools linked to FETÖ to Turkey's state-run Maarif Foundation last year.

The country has asked several countries worldwide to shut down dozens of schools, colleges and businesses linked to the FETÖ network in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt. Afghanistan's neighbor Pakistan, another close ally of Turkey, has ordered the shutdown of schools in that country run by FETÖ and deported dozens of the schools' FETÖ-linked staff to Turkey.

FETÖ's U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen was the mastermind behind the foiled coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 that killed 251 people. Ankara says FETÖ is behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the Turkish state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

The terrorist group is also known for operating hundreds of schools under the auspices of its network around the world. For decades, it disguised itself as a charity movement with religious undertones, opening schools, charities and companies on all continents. Through schools where children of the elite in the countries they operated are enrolled, the terrorist group extended its international clout, prosecutors investigating the international network say. FETÖ members enjoyed a safe haven in most countries they operated in before the 2016 coup attempt, but Turkey's diplomatic efforts after the coup bid paid off with most countries agreeing on cooperation with Ankara for the crackdown on the terrorists.

Sweden is among the countries embracing FETÖ members according to Turkish media outlets. İhlas News Agency reported last month that "hundreds" of FETÖ suspects who fled to Sweden after the 2016 coup attempt were given residence and work permits, though they had ongoing trials for their links to the terrorist group in Turkey.

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