By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Six Turkish nationals have been arrested in Kosovo and deported over ties to schools linked to the cleric whom Ankara blames for a failed 2016 coup.
The state-run Anadolu Agency reported on March 29 that the Turkish intelligence agency, MIT, used a private plane to take them back to Turkey.
Those sent back are said to be from a school network belonging to Fethullah Gulen, the cleric Erdogan blames for the 2016 failed coup in Turkey. Gulen, who lives in the United States, rejects the claim.
In a statement earlier, Kosovo’s Interior Ministry said those arrested had their residence permits revoked without specifying why.
Adem Vokshi, a lawyer of one of the arrested Turkish citizens, told RFE/RL that the six were arrested because they were identified by the Kosovo intelligence agency as risky individuals.
Vokshi said one of those arrested was a doctor and was not linked to the schools.
According to Andolu, the six were allegedly responsible for recruitment into Gulen’s network and helping those in Turkey leave the country amid a security crackdown in which tens of thousands of people have been fired or imprisoned over alleged Gulen links.
The Kosovo Human Rights Council urged the authorities on March 29 not to extradite the “political opponents of Erdogan” to Ankara.
Turkey is a major supporter of impoverished Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and Turkish firms run the tiny Balkan country’s sole airport and electricity network, and are building two highways worth around $2 billion.