Thirty-seven-year-old businessman Yavuz Bulbul took refuge with Austrian police after officers at the Turkish Consulate General in Vienna attempted to seize his passport over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.
According to Turkish and Austrian sources, Bulbul on Tuesday stopped by the consulate to renew his soon expiring passport. However, consular officers seized his passport due to suspected links to the movement.
Two days after the incident, Bulbul revisited the consulate asking for a formal letter to indicate the refusal of service on Tuesday. This request was also turned down, but Bulbul saw his passport on the officer’s desk, which he managed to grab and flee.
The businessman ran over to the Austrian police officer guarding the consulate building and told him that the consulate wanted to illegally seize his passport.
The policeman detained him as consular officers who had chased him outside the building filed a complaint against him on accusations of assault.
The prosecutor in charge of the case dismissed the charges and freed the businessman.
Bulbul is reportedly returning to South Korea, where he has been living for the past 15 years.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a July 15, 2016 failed coup. The movement denies any involvement.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in December 2017 that 55,665 people had been jailed and 234,419 passports revoked over alleged Gülen links since the coup attempt. (Turkey Purge)