ISTANBUL — Turkey’s intelligence service claims it has “captured” a Turkish citizen associated to a cleric they are saying orchestrated a failed coup, and brought him from his dwelling in Kenya to Turkey, the state-run Anadolu information company reported Monday.
The person, Selahaddin Gulen, is reported to be the nephew of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher primarily based in the US who’s accused of organizing a coup in opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.
Mr. Erdogan confronted down the coup try and cracked down exhausting within the aftermath, imposing a state of emergency for 2 years, detaining 100,000 folks and purging 150,000 public workers from their jobs.
Greater than 8,000 navy personnel have been prosecuted for his or her half within the revolt.
Overseas, the crackdown has concerned the pressured renditions of 80 or extra Gulen supporters and the closing of dozens of colleges run by his motion. Turkey has requested the extradition of Fethullah Gulen from the US, however Washington has executed little to satisfy that demand. American officers have mentioned the proof introduced by Ankara is inadequate to face up in courtroom.
The failure to extradite Mr. Gulen is one among a number of complaints expressed by Mr. Erdogan in his worsening relationship with the US.
Lecturers and directors of a number of the motion’s faculties have been extradited or deported with the cooperation of some nations, together with Kosovo, Bulgaria and Malaysia.
The Turkish authorities accused six Turkish residents who have been deported from Kosovo in March 2018 of getting connections to Mr. Gulen, whose Islamic motion has garnered help within the Balkans, amongst different locations.
Kosovo’s prime minister on the time, Ramush Haradinaj, mentioned that he had not licensed the deportations, and he fired his inside minister and secret service chief on the grounds that they’d identified in regards to the operation and failed to tell him prematurely.
Quickly after, Bekir Bozdag, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, boasted that Turkish secret brokers in 18 nations had seized 80 Turks suspected of getting hyperlinks to the Gulen motion. However later that yr Turkey was additionally prevented from transporting a Turkish educator from Mongolia.
Turkish officers pressured nations together with Kenya to shut Gulen-backed non-public faculties, that are in main cities together with Nairobi and Mombasa. Whereas the Kenyan authorities didn’t achieve this, the stress was indicative of Mr. Erdogan’s affect and the way far he would go to interrupt up the Gulen motion.
Relations between Kenya and Turkey have strengthened up to now decade, with the 2 nations signing agreements in safety and technical cooperation. In 2020, commerce quantity between the 2 nations grew to $251 million, in response to the Turkish overseas ministry.
Selahaddin Gulen was dwelling in Kenya and was preventing a authorized battle to keep away from deportation by the Kenyan authorities.
A Turkish citizen and a everlasting resident of the US, he arrived in Kenya on a vacationer visa on Oct. 17, in response to a courtroom affidavit seen by The New York Occasions. After he was allowed into the nation, immigration officers arrested him primarily based on a “pink discover” alert issued by Interpol for “an alleged youngster molestation case,” the affidavit mentioned. Mr. Gulen, in response to the affidavit, mentioned he was acquitted of the fees in 2008.
Mr. Gulen instructed the Kenyan courtroom that Turkish authorities have been “eager on subjecting me to political persecution as they’ve executed to my sister, my brother and 62 different members of my prolonged household.”
In his affidavit, he known as Interpol’s pink notices “the brand new system or instrument that the Turkish authorities now have resorted to utilizing of their efforts to grab and extradite to Turkey all individuals associated to Fethullah Gulen (who reside outdoors Turkey) for functions of being imprisoned.”
Interpol has come below widespread criticism for permitting autocrats and strongmen to abuse its alert system to serve their political ends.
Two days after Mr. Gulen arrived in Kenya, on Oct. 19, he was arraigned in courtroom and launched on bail pending the extradition proceedings in opposition to him. In early Might, days earlier than his case got here up for listening to, he disappeared whereas on his option to the headquarters of the Directorate of Legal Investigations, his lawyer, Jotham Okome Arwa, mentioned.
“It was a requirement of his bail that he ought to seem each Monday to verify that he was nonetheless inside jurisdiction,” Mr. Arwa mentioned in an interview.
The courtroom has directed Kenyan officers to clarify the whereabouts of Mr. Gulen, which they haven’t executed, Mr. Arwa mentioned. It was unclear what position Kenya performed, if any, within the seize of Mr. Gulen. Kenya’s ministry of inside didn’t reply to questions on Mr. Gulen’s case.
It was not the primary time that Turkish safety businesses have detained somebody in Kenya. In 1999, Turkish intelligence, with the assistance of American and Kenyan safety officers, captured the Kurdish insurgent chief Abdullah Ocalan and took him again to Turkey.
In a video shared online, Mr. Gulen’s spouse, Seriyye Gulen, mentioned she had been dwelling in Kenya since final November and that she final noticed her husband on Might 3. She mentioned she believed he was “kidnapped and brought to Turkey on Might 5.”
Citing safety sources, the Anadolu information company mentioned that Turkey’s Nationwide Intelligence Group, MIT, captured Mr. Gulen overseas and introduced him to Turkey. The report mentioned Mr. Gulen was associated to folks within the FETO motion. FETO is an acronym for the Gulen motion utilized by the Turkish authorities.
The information company supplied no additional particulars, though Mr. Erdogan had mentioned on Might 19 that Turkey had captured a senior member of the Gulen motion.
“Quickly we’ll announce an vital title from the FETO staff too,” Mr. Erdogan mentioned, talking to children in Turkey’s Nationwide Youth and Sports activities Day. “He’s in our fingers proper now.’’
Carlotta Gall reported from Istanbul and Abdi Latif Dahir from Nairobi, Kenya.