Bulgaria 'Hands Over Alleged G?lenists' to Turkey

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | October 17, 2016, Monday // 16:35
Bulgaria: Bulgaria 'Hands Over Alleged G?lenists' to Turkey One of the detainees handed over to Turkey worked for Zaman newspaper, which was linked to G?len before being taken over by authorities. File photo, EPA/BGNES

Seven Turkish nationals allegedly linked to the network of Islamic Cleric Fethullah G?len have been detained in Bulgaria and handed over to Turkish authorities, BGNES wire service reports.

The men were found as they were hiding in a Turkish-plated TIR truck bound for Romania.

They include three police commissioners dismissed from police departments in Diyarbakir and Kocaeli, a university lecturer, a journalist with Zaman newspaper, a high school physics and mathematics teacher, and a shopkeeper.

All of them are sought by Turkey over ties to what Ankara describes as "FET?", the name it uses to refer to the movement of G?len and to designate it as a terrorist organization.

They were turned in to Turkish police at the Kapitan Andreevo border crossing.

In August, Bulgaria's government sparked controversy among the public by handing over Abdullah B?y?k, a Turkish businessman sought for the same connections to whom authorities had denied political asylum.

Dogan News Agency says that the investigation into their actions is being led by police in Edirne, the closest Turkish city to the Bulgarian border.

Turkey deems FET? responsible for the military coup attempt staged on July 15 which was thwared by authorities and was followed by mass arrests of people allegedly linked to the coup through their support for G?len's movemenent. The dismissals and detentions are still ongoing.

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Tags: Fethullah Gulen, turkey, Bulgaria, Kapitan Andreevo
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