Turkish FM tells gov’t to hand in more FETO members hiding in Albania

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 14, 2020 09:41

Story Highlights

  • Earlier this year, Albanian authorities expelled, within hours, a Turkish national who was considered part of the Gülen Movement. As soon as he got out of prison, Harun Celik was transported to the airport, without even having time to appeal the deportation decision, as required by Albanian law.

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TIRANA, Feb. 13 – Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Tirana on Wednesday, where during a press conference with Albanian acting FM Gent Cakaj he thanked the government for its efforts against the Gulen Movement and urged it to hand in more of its members, who are considered terrorist by the Turkisht majority.

At the conclusion of his meeting with Cakaj, the Turkish diplomat repeatedly stressed that the Fethullah terrorist organization (FETO) is not only a threat to Turkey, but to any place where its members are residing. 

He stated that he had explained this to the Albanian authorities and would do so in his meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama, underlining that Turkey does not want Albania to be a security port for FETO members.

Cavusoglu said there were no exact figures for the numbers of FETO members in Albania, but that there should be several hundred, for whom Turkey expects their return. 

In this context, Cavusoglu, expressed his gratitude to Albania for what it has done and, although understandably not easy, he said these are more steps that need to be taken for the future. 

He said he had also made the same request to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, to whom he referred to as a “brother.”

Earlier this year, Albanian authorities expelled, within hours, a Turkish national who was considered part of the Gülen Movement. As soon as he got out of prison, Harun Celik was transported to the airport, without even having time to appeal the deportation decision, as required by Albanian law.

Another Turkish national, arrested under the same conditions as Çelik, has already made a written request for asylum in Albania, as he says he is considered a part of the Gulen movement in Turkey and consequently “there he may be subject to abusive actions.”

The Turkish government welcomed the operation against its nationals, although Albania’s official stand was that the two Turkish nationals were expelled because they failed to respect aliens’ laws and procedures, and not because of their alleged association with FETO. 

Cavusoglu and Cakaj also signed three agreements; on the mutual recognition of driving licenses, exchange of young diplomats, and on aligning the work in international organizations regarding war against organized crime and terrorism.

Cavusoglu said that cooperation has increased in a number of other fields as well, such as education, and that they expect Albania’s contribution to strengethning cooperation too, while also saying that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also be visiting the country soon.

The Turkish government claims that the failed 2016 coup d’etat was masterminded by Fethullah Gulen, who is currently residing in the US. In the subsequent years, the government has cracked down on academics, journalists, activists, and workers in the civil service that it claims are linked to the uprising.

In an interview for Istanbul media a few weeks earlier, Cavusoglu reportedly warned that FETO and its members affect not just Albanian education – as they are associated with a number of educational institutions operating in the country – but also politics. 

“We have told you that FETO is very powerful in Albania and has a certain influence on politics. We see this. The same thing happens in Kosovo. We have communicated our thoughts on this to both brotherly states,” he told ‘Anadolu Agency’ in an interview. 

During the same press conference on Wednesday, Cavusoglu also mentioned that Turkey is expecting the shutting down of all FETO-related educational institutions in Albania and everywhere else in the world. 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 14, 2020 09:41