Kosovo: 6 Turks arrested for links to Gulen Schools

Six Turkish nationals have been arrested by Kosovo police, for their alleged links to the schools which are financed by the Fethullah Gulen movement which has been blamed by Ankara for a failed coup on its soil in 2016. There has not been any official statement about the arrests so far.

One of the arrested men Mustafa Erdem is reportedly the director of all the Gulen schools in Kosovo. Balkan nations have been continuously pressed by Turkey to force the closure of all the private schools which have connections with Gulen who was a Muslim cleric who is held responsible by the Turkish government for the coup. Kosovo which is a dominantly Muslim-majority nation has refused the Turkish plea to close the Gulen schools although Turkey has been a key supporter of Kosovo during its declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008. Additionally, the airport of the Balkan nation along with the electricity network is also run by Turkish firms. Turkey has been also contributing towards infrastructure in Kosovo and is currently building highways worth $2 billion.

Gulen movement has been running schools in over 160 countries ranging from Afghanistan to the US. Turkey had declared it a terrorist organization two years back and thus has been pressing its allies to shut all the Gulen- associated establishments.

The Coup d’état attempt 2016

A Coup d’état was tried in Turkey in July 2016 against the state and state-run institutions including President Erdogan. The Turkish government had held the coup being a brainchild of Fethullah Gulen who is a Turkish businessman and a cleric residing in the US. The Coup was said to be carried out by a unit of Turkish Armed Forces who got together under the banner of Peace of Home Council. A strong attempt was made to take control over the primary landmarks in Istanbul, Ankara but lost in their bid to the Turkish forces loyal to the state. The underlying reasons stated for the Coup were the complete disregard of democratic rule, fading of secularism, human rights abuses and thereby a severe hit to the Turkish credibility in the international arena. The whole series of events led to the death of 300 people and over 2100 were injured. Many important state buildings like the Presidential Palace, Parliament House were bombed. Many thousands of people were arrested and detained. The Coup gained international and domestic condemnation and called for respect towards democratic institutions and the elected heads. A State of Emergency was imposed by the Turkish President which is still in place.

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