Bosnian Arrest of ‘Gulenist’ School Head Sparks Extradition Fears


Date posted: December 7, 2019

The sudden and unexplained detention on Tuesday of a Turkish school director in northwest Bosnia is being linked to pressure exerted by the Ankara authorities.

Bosnian police have arrested the head of a school linked to the arch-foe of Turkey’s powerful president, raising fears that Turkey’s long arm is behind the detention.

Fatih Keskin, director of Richmond Park Schools in Bihac in northwest Bosnia, was arrested on Tuesday after his permanent residence permit was revoked for unknown reasons apparently related to national security.

Harun Tursanovic, Richmond Park Schools Public Relations Officer, confirmed to BIRN that Keskin had been arrested and was currently in a detention centre in Lukavica, Eastern Sarajevo.

“The arrest is full of irregularities,” he said. “First, he was called to visit the police Station in Una-Sava Canton … and there told that his residence permit was revoked.

“He was also forced to sign some documents and when he refused was brought to Sarajevo,” Tursanovic told BIRN.

Tursanovic said he suspected the Turkish government’s role in the process.

This is because Bosnia – like other Balkan countries – has come under strong pressure from Ankara to extradite alleged “Gulenists” – followers of the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, a hate figure for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“This was a surprising move for us, as Keskin had a permanent residence permit,” Tursanovic noted.

“The Service for Foreigners’ Affairs, SPS, had previously told us that all those with permanent resident permits would not have any problems over Turkish demands – but now this is happening. The unusual process hints at the role of an outsider effect, which is the Turkish government in this case,” Tursanovic said.

A lawyer, Nedim Ademovic who is defending 10 of the people on Erdogan’s list, met Keskin and officials from the SPS on Wednesday morning.

“We were told that Keskin’s residence permit was revoked for reasons related to national security. They avoided giving us solid reasons,” Tursanovic said.

Previously, after the resident permits of four Turkish citizens who were on Erdogan’s list were revoked for similar reasons, the courts stopped the decision.

“We will challenge the decision and we hope that the courts will deliver justice,” Tursanovic added.

SPS Director Slobodan Ujic confirmed on December 3 that Keskin had been detained.

“The SPS is not doing something for nothing. We had operational data and will interview [him] and further verify the data,” he said.

“Other security agencies are involved. It is not simple,” Ujic told Klix.ba, refusing to give out any other details about Keskin’s arrest for operational reasons.

But Tursanovic said that, because of this, other teachers working for the school chain no longer feel safe, calling the decision very concerning.

The Turkish government accuses Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the US, of being behind a failed coup attempt in 2016. He has denied this.

But since the failed coup, Ankara has referred to Gulen’s movement as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation or FETO for short.

Since then, Ankara has arrested tens of thousands of people, fired hundreds of thousands from public service jobs and closed down thousands of companies, NGOs and educational institutions because of their alleged links with the “FETO”.

Erdogan’s government has also exerted maximum pressure on Balkan states to hand over alleged Gulenists and to close down any institution related to the cleric’s movement.

Most have resisted the call for extraditions, but the Turkish intelligence agency was involved in two operations to rendition so-called Gulenists from Kosovo and Moldova, which sparked political rows in both countries.

Bosnian media reported that Erdogan delivered a list of alleged Gulenist to his Bosnian counterparts, demanding their extradition, on his recent visit to Bosnia in July.

Keskin had been living in Bosnia for more than 15 years, working as a teacher and school director. He was reportedly not on Erdogan’s list but could still face extradition.

Richmond Park Schools, formerly known as Bosna Sema Schools, is currently owned by a British educational firm. It runs 14 schools including a university in Sarajevo.

Source: Balkan Insight , December 4, 2019


Related News

Gulenists dismissed, purged, and tortured: Canadian Immigration Board

The findings of IRB indicated that detainees in Turkey have faced different forms of torture and ill-treatment. They include severe beatings, threats of sexual assault and actual sexual assault, electric shocks, waterboarding, punches/kicking, blows with objects, falaqa [foot beating], threats and verbal abuse, being forced to strip naked, rape with objects and other sexual violence or threats thereof, sleep deprivation, stress positions, and extended blindfolding and/or handcuffing for several days.

Fethullah Gülen’s Lawyers: Gülen Movement Has No Link With Zarrab Case In US

The lawyers of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen said on Tuesday that the Gülen movement has no link to the case of Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab in the US.

Turkish PM Erdoğan’s way worries and puzzles

Erdoğan’s political calculations for his strategy do not seem to make much sense to many. Why has he chosen to alienate the Hizmet movement now and not after the elections? Why is he even more furious with the remaining independent media than before? Is he doing all this and others to win or is this a heavy gamble, in despair, to lose or win everything?

Pakistan – Side effects of the coup in Turkey

PakTurk Schools’ Parent-Teacher Association expressed concern that the government may hand over the school management to “a political entity”. The association has demanded of the government not to make an unwise political move, and investigate if there is anything wrong with their curriculum. “Turkey is a friendly country and we respect its democracy. But we should consider the future of 11,000 students of these schools,” the association expresses.

What we learned from the operation

While the government works to finish off the Hizmet movement, it may even call for the expulsion of the US ambassador from the country. The real duty of Halkbank is to act as Iran’s opening door to the world, and the US blockade has been violated for years. We learned that the pro-government media is allergic to shoe boxes [money used in alleged bribery was found in shoe boxes in one of the suspects’ homes].

‘Parallel state’ and ‘theft of national will’

There is not a single piece of concrete evidence indicating that prosecutors and police officers had acted in contravention of laws and regulations in the investigation into the corruption claims that implicated some former Cabinet members and their sons. However, these public officials who performed their lawful duties in full compliance with the principles of transparency, accountability and equality — which are fundamental characteristics of the regimes that uphold the rule of law — were recklessly accused by the prime minister and his cronies of being the “parallel state.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Transparency and trust is our only weapon says Turkish NGO chairman

The gov’t in Turkey is committing genocide

Turkish Canadian institute presents peace and dialogue awards

Canada’s Turkish community on edge as government crackdown continues

Erdogan in Africa: Gulen and trade ties

Fethullah Gülen: Erdogan is a Narcissist Dictator, His Main Enemy is Himself

The turmoil in Turkey – The terror threat is real and is made worse by Erdogan’s paranoia

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News