Turkey claims to have ‘captured’ relative of cleric in Kenya
ISTANBUL – Turkish intelligence service claims to have ‘captured’ Turkish citizen accused of links to a cleric who they said orchestrated a failed coup and took him from his home in Kenya to Turkey, reported Monday the official Anadolu news agency.
The man, Selahaddin Gulen, is said to be the nephew of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Islamic preacher who is accused of orchestrating a coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.
Erdogan faced the coup attempt and cracked down severely thereafter, imposing a state of emergency for two years, detaining 100,000 people and expelling 150,000 officials from their jobs.
More than 8,000 soldiers have been prosecuted for their participation in the insurgency.
Abroad, the crackdown has resulted in the forced rendition of 100 or more of Gülen’s supporters and the closure of dozens of schools run by his movement.
Teachers and administrators from some schools were extradited or expelled with the cooperation of some countries, but Turkey was also prevented from transporting a Turkish educator from Mongolia in 2018.
Turkish officials have pressured countries, including Kenya, to close Gulen-backed private schools, which are in major cities, including Nairobi and Mombasa. Although the Kenyan government did not close schools, the pressure was indicative of Mr. Erdogan’s influence and how far he would go to smash the Gulen movement.
Relations between Kenya and Turkey have strengthened over the past decade, with the two countries signing security and technical cooperation agreements. In 2020, the volume of trade between the two countries increased to $ 251 million, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Mr. Gulen lived in Kenya and was fighting a legal battle to avoid deportation by the Kenyan government.
He disappeared several weeks ago, even though his court case was still before the courts.
It was not the first time that Turkish security agencies had arrested someone in Kenya. In 1999, Turkish intelligence, with the help of US and Kenyan security agents, captured Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan and returned him to Turkey.
It was not clear what role Kenya played, if any, in Mr. Gulen’s capture.
In one video shared online, his wife, Seriyye Gulen, said she had been living in Kenya since last November and last saw her husband on May 3. She believed he had been “kidnapped and taken to Turkey on May 5”.
Citing security sources, Anadolu News Agency said Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, MIT, captured Mr. Gulen abroad and brought him to Turkey. The report said Mr. Gulen was linked to members of the FETO movement. FETO is an acronym for the Gulen movement used by the Turkish government.
The news agency provided no further details, although Erdogan said on May 19 that Turkey had captured a prominent member of the Gulen movement.
“Soon we will also be announcing an important name of the FETO team,” Erdogan said, addressing young people on National Youth and Sports Day in Turkey. “It’s in our hands right now. ”