A court in Istanbul accepted an indictment on Wednesday for six men linked to the faith-based Gülen movement who were abducted from Kosovo in March 2018 with the cooperation of Kosovar intelligence.
The six men are charged with “espionage” and “being executives of an armed terrorist organization,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday. The indictment asks a sentence of between 16 and 28 years for the defendants. The same indictment also claimed that the men were engaged in espionage under the guise of education and school management.
On Monday, according to a report in British newspaper The Times, the Kosovar intelligence service illegally deported the six Turkish citizens on orders that were likely to have come directly from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through Kosovar President Hashim Thaci.
In a development that caused outrage around the world, the Kosovo police on March 29, 2018 arrested five educators working at schools linked to the Gülen movement in Kosovo as well as a doctor, after which Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) rendered them to Turkey.
An investigation by a Kosovar parliamentary committee has revealed the extent of Erdoğan’s pursuit of political opponents overseas and how Ankara used the security agency, which acted without the knowledge of Ramush Haradinaj, the Kosovar prime minister.
Erdoğan accuses the Gülen movement of being behind a failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016 although the movement strongly denies any involvement.