A Bosnian court rejected an extradition request from Turkey for Hümeyra Gökçen, a woman wanted for her links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) responsible for the murder of 250 people during the 2016 coup attempt.
The Appeals Chamber of Bosnia's state court last month ruled against the extradition of Gökçen on the grounds that she had requested asylum in Bosnia before Turkey asked for her extradition. The ruling was not made public. In the decision obtained by Reuters, the court also said that allegations that Gökçen was a member of a terrorist organization could not be sustained because the FETÖ organization has not been verified as such by resolutions of the United Nations or the Council of Europe. The court did not provide more details on the case nor did it comment on whether there were other such requests for deportation. Media outlets reported that Gökçen was among several FETÖ suspects who fled to Bosnia after the coup attempt.
Bosnia enjoys good relations with Turkey, and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım was the latest leader to visit the Balkan country in March. Yıldırım has called on the country not to overlook the FETÖ threat. "You see them as people running schools or people engaged in business, but this is not the case as we have seen in Turkey. This is a secret group working as an intelligence arm of imperialist powers," the prime minister warned. Like other countries in the region, FETÖ runs a network of schools in Bosnia, but the Balkan country has not taken any action against these schools, while Turkey pursues diplomatic efforts to close any entities linked to FETÖ in the world. Sema, the flagship school chain of the terrorist group in Bosnia, changed ownership after the coup attempt, a tactic commonly employed by Gülenists to disguise schools' ties to wanted members of the group.
Turkish efforts to crack down on fugitive members of the terrorist group in the Balkans resulted in the arrests of six in Kosovo last month.
Both before and after the 2016 coup attempt, hundreds of FETÖ members fled abroad. Ankara now seeks more cooperation from the international community to bring them to justice. Officials recently revealed that 83 members of the group, including its senior executives, had been captured and brought to Turkey in classified operations, including those captured in Kosovo. Media reports said that the country has so far identified some 4,600 suspected members of the group around the world. Turkish courts also periodically issue arrest warrants for FETÖ members abroad. Ankara has long complained of reluctance from European countries and the U.S. to cooperate in the fight against FETÖ.
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