Seven suspected members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) were detained in Moldova on Thursday, before they were deported to Turkey where they are wanted, Turkish media reported Friday.
Media outlets said the operation to capture the suspects was the joint work of Information and Security Service of Moldova (SIS) and Turkey's National Intelligence Directorate (MİT), though it was not confirmed. Quoted in a BBC report, SIS said in a statement that it had cooperated with "special services of other states" in the operation.
The suspects were the director and staff of Liceul Orizont, a school operated by FETÖ in Moldova. One of the suspects identified by Turkish media as Yasin Özdil, who is the brother of Osman Hilmi Özdil, a senior FETÖ member who used to be in charge of the terrorist group's infiltrators in the Turkish law enforcement. "When it was confirmed that they posed a risk to national security, it was decided that these persons should immediately leave the territory of Moldova," the SIS statement said. Turkish officials did not comment on the issue.
In March this year, anti-corruption prosecutors in Moldova detained a director of the Orizont school network for questioning. He was released and later requested political asylum in Moldova but was rejected. He left the country and his current whereabouts is unknown to Moldovan authorities.
FETÖ, which runs a global network of schools and companies spanning from the United States to Asia, is accused of carrying out the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 250 people. The attempt by the group's infiltrators in the military was foiled and Turkey started an international crackdown against FETÖ whose high-ranking members fled the country in the aftermath of the putsch bid.
Turkey monitors the activities of Gülenists in 160 countries. Through a focused enquiry in cooperation with intelligence services, the Foreign Ministry found 4,600 suspected members of the group in 110 countries, and at this point than 80 coup plotters from 18 countries have been brought back in a global manhunt. Most recently, three suspected members of the group were captured and brought to Turkey from Azerbaijan and Ukraine.