Turkish teacher removed from Kosovo sentenced to 8 years, 9 months in prison

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A woman protesting the arrest of six Turkish nationals in Kosovo on March 29.

Kahraman Demirez, one of six Turkish nationals who were rendered to Turkey from Kosovo in an intelligence operation last year, has been sentenced to 8 years, 9 months in prison by an İstanbul court, the Oda TV news website reported.

While Demirez was acquitted of charges of international espionage, he was handed down the prison sentence for membership in terrorist groups.

In his last statement Demirez rejected the accusations and denied any involvement in violent acts.

“I am a teacher, and teaching math is not a crime,” Demirez said.

In May 2018 six Turkish nationals were arrested in Kosovo and rendered to Turkey over links to schools financed by the faith-based Gülen movement, which Ankara accuses of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016. The movement strongly denies any connection with the abortive putsch.

The two countries’ intelligence operatives and the Turkish Embassy in Pristina were reportedly involved in the operation, which prompted reactions from the European Union.

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