May 5, 2017

Saudi Arabia deports members of 16 Turkish families to Turkey over alleged links with Gülen movement

Saudi Arabian Kingdom has allegedly deported the members of 16 Turkish families to Turkey over their alleged affiliation with the Gülen movement, reported by Yeni Hamle news portal.

According to the report, the members of 16 Turkish families have been kept in custody in a hotel for days and they have been deported to Turkey through a plane send by Turkish government on Thursday. Among those deported, the children and women were reportedly released in Turkey, however whereabouts of the men are unknown.

Meanwhile, monitoring website Turkey Purge has also reported that, according to a letter they have received, those Turkish nationals who were reportedly detained in Saudi Arabia on March 15 and have been kept in a hotel in Madinah for weeks, deported to Turkey.

The letter revealed that the victims were detained in four different Saudi cities over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Letter said the victims were later taken to Jeddah.

They have not seen any judges, prosecutors. No accusations, nothing. Lawyers could not get involved. Their families got in touch with the United Nations. They sent several letters and emails. They had constant communication with the UN office in Riyadh. The UN could not resolve the issue. Two days ago, the families were taken to a hotel in Madinah. They were not allowed to leave the hotel. And today at noon, the 11 detainees together with their families were deported to Turkey,” the letter read.

According to the letter sent to Turkey Purge, the names of the victims, assumptively the men whose whereabouts are unknown, are as follows: Faruk Yanık, Ercan Orucu, Mehmet Altan, İrfan Bayar, Usame Türkyılmaz, Hüseyin Avni Güngören, Yunus Beşir Birol, Beşir Başoğlu, Aziz Erten, Adil Veli Kartal and Şener Yürek.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. However, the movement strongly denies any involvement. The movement is known for its education and aid activities in about 180 countries, but Turkish Foreign Ministry bureaucrats have been trying to expand domestic pressure to overseas subsidiaries of the movement recently.

Published on Stockholm Center for Freedom, 4 May 2017, Thursday