Three Turkish nationals who were recently detained over controversial charges in Malaysia have been deported to Turkey, according to police chief Khalid Abu Bakar.
Malaysian police last week detained Turgay Karaman, the headmaster of a Turkish school in the city of Ipoh, businessman İhsan Aslan and academic İsmet Özçelik over their alleged links to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Abu Bakar tweeted on Friday that Karaman, Aslan and Özçelik had been deported to Turkey on Thursday night.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia earlier called on Malaysian officials to refrain from extradition as the detainees are affiliated with the Gülen movement, against which the government has launched a sweeping witch-hunt, accusing the group of being behind a July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The group strongly denies any involvement.
Even though the Malaysian government underlined that the trio were detained over alleged ISIL links, human rights organizations shared their concerns over the possibility that Malaysian officials were going after Turkish nationals at Turkey’s request.
Malaysian officials were also criticized for the way the Turks were detained in the first place. Karaman was forced into a car by unidentified men in a parking lot in Kuala Lumpur on May 2. Family members were later told that Karaman had been detained.
The school Karaman was working at was founded by Gülen followers, while Aslan is a member of the Malaysian-Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a Gülen-linked business association based in Kuala Lumpur.
Özçelik is a former board member of Mevlana University, which was closed over Gülen links in the aftermath of a July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Previously, in October 2016, two other Turkish nationals were detained in Malaysia and were deported the following day. Both men were arrested upon their return to Turkey, where they remain under arrest.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier called on foreign governments to punish Gülen followers in their own countries. Only a few countries including Saudi Arabia and Malaysia have complied with the request so far. (TurkeyPurge)