Turkish spies 'abducted 80 Turks living abroad' since coup

Turkish spies 'abducted 80 Turks living abroad' since coup
Turkey's deputy Prime Minister has boasted that 80 suspected Gulenists have been 'bundled up and brought back' to Turkey from abroad.
2 min read
11 April, 2018
Since the failed 2016 coup Erdogan has launched an international crackdown [Getty]
A senior Turkish official has revealed that the country's intelligence agency secretly captured at least 80 Turkish citizens living abroad and brought them back to Turkey in an ongoing crackdown against dissidents following the failed 2016 coup, according to a report by Vice News.

Some of the forced repatriations have been made public, such as the case of three Turkish citizens, which Erdogan announced has been "returned" from Gabon in central Africa.

Turkish security authorities allege the three men belonged to the group led by preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara claims masterminded the failed coup in 2016.

The secretive arrests come after Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told Haberturk news outlet in an interview last week that the intelligence services "bundled up and brought back" 80 suspected Gulen-linked so-called "terrorists" against their will.

Bekir did not give details on which countries the detainees had been captured in.

In a similar operation in March, five teachers and a doctor, all Turkish nationals and alleged Gulenists, were flown back to Turkey from Kosovo in a covert joint operation by Turkish intelligence and the Kosovo interior ministry.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of masterminding the failed coup and leading a terror group called the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO), charges he denies.

Turkey has repeatedly attempted to extradite Gulen from the US to no avail. 

Gulen's group had built up huge influence in Turkey but also abroad - notably in central Africa, the Balkans and Turkic Central Asian states like Kyrgyzstan - in particular through an education network consisting of dozens of schools, many of which have now been shut down by the Turkish government.