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Turkey pressures Albania to hand over wanted fugitives

Suspected of staging a massive cryptocurrency scam, Ozer was arrested in Albania on August 30 after being sought by police for more than a year.

Cavusoglu also said he had delivered a new list of so-called Gulenists wanted by Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government accuse Gulen and his network of orchestrating a failed 2016 putsch and define the network as the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation”, or “FETO” for short. “FETO is not just a threat to us, it is a threat to every country it is in,” Cavusoglu said.

“Today, we shared the necessary information about the extradition of some people [Gulenists] to Turkey,” Cavusoglu said and praised the closure of a Gulen-run school in Albania. The Mehmet Akif Ersoy College was closed in September.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said schools affiliated with Gulen were being closed because they do not meet legal standards but many suspect the decision was made to please Turkey’s President.

Thousands of institutions – universities, schools, banks, media companies, NGOs and private firms – owned or run by alleged members of Gulen’s network have been seized in Turkey since the authorities crushed the attempted coup in 2016. The government continues to press other countries to do the same.

So far, however, apart from a few states in Africa and Asia with autocratic governments, Gulen schools have continued to operate and most countries have resisted or ignored Ankara’s demands for extradition of Gulen followers.

Albania controversially deported a Gulenist to Turkey in 2020 who was attempting to flee to Canada and so joined Kosovo and Moldova, which have also returned suspected ‘Gulenists’ to Turkey despite sharp criticism from rights organisations, the EU and their own opposition parties.

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