Date posted: April 5, 2018
Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish preacher who has lived in voluntary exile in the US since 1999, on Tuesday criticized the deportation of six Turkish citizens from Kosovo to Turkey in an operation conducted by Turkish state intelligence, likening it to a hijacking.
“We are experiencing turbulent times and we have a calamity over us. Lately, hijackers hijacked people from Kosovo,” Gulen said in a video.
In the same video, he compared Kosovo with Pakistan and Myanmar, where Turkish spy agency have previously conducted similar operations and brought alleged Gulen followers to Turkey.
Gulen did not mention any names in video and did not criticize the Kosovo government.
Exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen has accused Turkish President Erdogan of ‘hijacking’ the Turkish nationals deported recently from Kosovo.
“This is basically hijacking of people, I call them as hijackers but it is not enough … They have hijacked people, they sometimes killed people or left them in the wilderness. My definition of these people might make some people uncomfortable, but it truly is hijacking,” he continued.
The exiled cleric spoke out after Kosovo police on March 19 arrested five employees of Turkish colleges in Kosovo and a Turkish doctor, all allegedly linked to Gulen, who Turkey calls a terrorist. They were deported soon after.
Turkey later said its secret service had conducted the operation in cooperation with Kosovo’s security and intelligence institutions.
However, after Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj complained that the Turks had been deported twithout his knowledge, he axed the director of the Intelligence Agency and the Interior Minister.
The Turkish operation, and Haradinaj’s later decision, triggered a war of words between politicians from the two countries.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Kosovo Prime Minister of wanting to protect “terrorists”.
Haradinaj responded in an interview at the Voice of America in which he said that he does not understand the reactions of the Turkish President, adding that no one from outside Kosovo can make decisions on Kosovo’s internal affairs.
Haradinaj said he did not want to prejudge who ordered the arrests and deportation, which according to him was like abducting people from Kosovo.
“The reactions of the President [Erdogan] are not understandable to me. We do not interfere in Turkey’s internal affairs, these are our internal affairs and no one will make decisions on Kosovo’s internal affairs,” Haradinaj said.
Ankara has accused Gulen of orchestrating a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016. It describes his supporters as the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation” or “FETO” for short.
Gulen has denied any links to the failed coup and has asked an international commission to investigate the coup attempt.
Source: Balkan Insight , April 4, 2018