Sat, May 13, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Turkey detains 57, Malaysia deports Gulen-linked men

AFP, ISTANBUL, Turkey, and KUALA LUMPUR

Turkey yesterday detained 57 people in an operation against the Istanbul stock exchange as part of the investigation into the failed coup on July 15 last year, state media said.

The 57 were detained in six different provinces, with over 100 arrest warrants issued, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Efforts to detain the remaining suspects are in progress, it added.

They are suspected of links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and his so-called Fethullah Terror Organization (FETO), which Ankara accuses of being behind the failed plot to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it said.

Gulen denies the charges.

The Haberturk daily said on its Web site that those held were former employees of the stock exchange suspected of using a encrypted messaging application called Bylock, which Turkey claims was especially created for Gulen supporters.

They are also accused of performing transactions on behalf of Bank Asya, a bank once closely affiliated with Gulen.

About 47,000 people have been arrested under the state of emergency imposed after the coup, while tens of thousands more have lost their jobs.

Meanwhile, Malaysia has deported three Turkish nationals wanted by Ankara for alleged links Gulen.

Malaysian National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar tweeted that the men were “deported back to Ankara” on Thursday night, despite concerns from rights groups who fear Malaysia is bowing to pressure from Turkey.

Turgay Karaman and Ihsan Aslan were arrested last week under a security law that allows detention without trial for 28 days.

Two days later Turkish academic Ismet Ozcelik was also detained, with authorities citing national security reasons.

“Police investigations showed they were involved in FETO activities and are wanted by Turkey,” Khalid said in a separate statement.

Khalid said the men’s travel documents had been canceled by Ankara and so they were regarded as illegal immigrants in Malaysia.

Rights groups have said they fear that Malaysia might be responding to pressure from Turkey, which has mounted a huge crackdown on perceived opponents since the failed coup.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement yesterday that the Malaysian government’s “duplicity and crass abuse of the rights of these three men really sets this case apart.”

“It’s like Malaysia just hung a signboard around its neck that reads ‘handmaiden of Turkish repression,’” he said.

Robertson said that Malaysia’s decision to deport the men meant that they could face possible torture and prolonged detention, followed by an unfair trial.

The UN Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia last week expressed serious concern about the arrests and urged Malaysia to refrain from deporting the men to Turkey.

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