Justice minister slams EU countries for not extraditing alleged Gülen followers

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Turkey Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ in parliament

Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has criticized some EU countries for what he said was their failure to extradite alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement who have taken refuge in those countries.

Speaking on a TV program on Kanal 24 on Monday, Bozdağ said: “No [positive] response has been given to us by Greece, Germany and other countries from which we demanded the extradition of ‘pro-FETÖ’ coup plotters. Only Romania and Bulgaria extradited these people to us, thankfully. From now on, we will treat those countries the same way they treat us. We will act in accordance with the principle of reciprocity.”

“FETÖ” is a derogatory term used by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement, which it accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15.

Last week, the Greek Supreme Court denied the extradition of eight Turkish officers who were allegedly involved in the attempted coup in Turkey on July 15.

The Greek Supreme Court handed down its verdict on an extradition request for eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after the failed coup in Turkey and denied their return on Thursday.

The court cited the lack of ability to get a fair trial in Turkey as justification for denying the request for the extradition of the soldiers. Turkish news channels portrayed the decision as a negative development.

The soldiers are expected to be released in Greece soon as they officially seek asylum there.

The Greek court’s decision has sparked angry reactions from the Turkish government.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

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