Turkey condemns ‘provocative reports’ targeting Turkish Embassy in Kosovo
The Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected and condemned what is called “malicious media manipulations” in Kosovo, specifically news reports claiming that six Turkish men deported from the country were in the Turkish Embassy in Pristina.
The claims that extradited people, who worked in schools and clinics supported by the Gülen movement, referred to by the Turkish authorities as the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), were being kept at the embassy were “unfounded,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a written statement on March 31.
“The terrorist organization has once again shown its real face to the entire world with their actions against Turkey and its missions in Kosovo. The authorities of Kosovo have been reminded that the safety of Turkish nationals, missions, officials and companies is first and foremost Kosovo’s responsibility as a host nation and that they are expected to act in line with their international obligations,” Aksoy said.
“We also expect from our friends to have a careful and uncompromising approach against the manipulations of the members of this terrorist organization and the circles supporting them,” he added.
“The provocative news in the media - which targeted our embassy, our ambassador and embassy staff by claiming that people extradited from Kosovo were in the embassy in Pristina - are unfounded. We strongly reject and condemn such malicious media manipulations,” Aksoy said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also blasted Kosovo’s prime minister on March 31 for criticizing the secret deportations of six Turkish men who Ankara claims are terrorists with links to the now-outlawed network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Erdoğan said he was “saddened” that Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj had dismissed both his interior minister and his intelligence chief on March 30 for deporting the six without his permission.
The deportations have been criticized by rights groups in Kosovo and abroad, the Associated Press reported.
“Since when have you begun to protect those who work to stage a coup against the Republic of Turkey?” Erdoğan said, vowing that Haradinaj would “pay the price.”
Those deported from Kosovo worked in schools and clinics supported by the Gülen movement, referred to by the Turkish authorities as FETÖ, widely believed to have orchestrated the July 2016 coup attempt that left 250 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.
Gülen’s movement was once a close ally of the government but Ankara now accuses it of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of state institutions, particularly the military, the police and the judiciary.
Turkey declared a state of emergency after the July 2016 coup attempt that is still in place. More than 38,000 people accused of links to Gülen remain behind bars and some 110,000 public servants have been sacked from their jobs. Many proclaim no knowledge of the attempted coup.
Five Turkish teachers and a Turkish doctor were deported from Kosovo for alleged links to Gülen in a joint operation by the intelligence services of Kosovo and Turkey.
Family members have contacted the men by phone at a high security prison in Istanbul, according to Kosovan media.