Six top FETÖ suspects in Balkans arrested in Kosovo, brought to Turkey

Published 29.03.2018 00:00
Updated 29.03.2018 16:35
emAA Photo/em
AA Photo

Six executives of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in the Balkans were arrested Thursday in Kosovo and brought to Turkey in a joint operation by the Turkish and Kosovar intelligence services.

Security sources told the official Anadolu Agency (AA) that the suspects, named as Cihan Özkan, Kahraman Demirez, Hasan Hüseyin Günakan, Mustafa Erdem, Osman Karakaya and Yusuf Karabina, were brought to Turkey via a private aircraft by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

The suspects, who were being sought by Turkey, were officially in charge of the FETÖ-run private "Gülistan" and "Mehmet Akif" school networks in Kosovo.

The sources told AA that the suspects were in charge of all FETÖ activities in the region, as well as trafficking FETÖ members from Turkey to the U.S. and European countries, where the terrorist group maintains a strong presence.

Özkan was in charge of collecting tithes from FETÖ members in the Balkans and transferring the terrorist group's shares to the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, where FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen has been residing since 1999.

Günakan was the key figure in hiring teachers to the schools.

Karakaya assumed an active role in the Ergenekon sham trial launched by FETÖ-linked prosecutors and police officers targeting the officer corps and the chain of command of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). During the trial, Karakaya prepared reports in favor of FETÖ at the Istanbul Forensic Medicine Institution. FETÖ members used the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer (Balyoz) trials to infiltrate into the TSK, and a majority of officers and non-commissioned officers who took part in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, which left 250 civilians killed and 2,200 others injured, were appointed to crucial command posts after these trials.

In a statement Thursday, the Kosovar Interior Ministry said the residence permits of the suspects had been revoked, without providing any reasons. According to Kosovo law, the ministry can revoke the residence permits of individuals over security, criminal, health, public moral or human rights threats.

A police statement said raids connected to the arrests were continuing.

Nazi Ulus, a principal of one of the Gülen-linked schools, told Reuters that one of the arrested Turks, Mustafa Erdem, was the director of all Gülen schools in Kosovo. He had no further information.

Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj only confirmed to reporters that the expired residence permits were the cause of their detention.

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