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Turkey agents capture nephew of Gulen in overseas operation

Image of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen [Twitter]
Fethullah Gülen, the Turkish cleric in self-imposed exile in the US, who has been accused of masterminding the Turkish coup attempt of July 2016

Turkish intelligence agents have captured the nephew of Fethullah Gulen and brought him to Turkey to face prosecution, almost five years after the failed coup attempt which Ankara accuses the cleric of masterminding.

According to the Anadolu Agency, agents of Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) seized Selahaddin Gulen in an overseas operation which is reported to have taken place in Kenya, where he has been residing since October last year.

After being put on an Interpol red notice at the request of Turkey, Selahaddin was arrested for two days upon his arrival to Nairobi before being released on bail, as Ankara continued to seek his extradition. According to legal documents seen by the news agency AFP, however, a Kenyan court ordered in early May that he not be arrested or extradited, and returned his passport to him.

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Although it is not detailed in the initial report, it is thought that Turkish intelligence then resorted to capturing him and conducting a forced extradition. Back in Turkey, he reportedly faces prosecution for his membership and activities in his uncle's worldwide network, which Ankara has labelled a terrorist organisation.

Fethullah Gulen was an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two split following a rift which culminated in the Turkish government's crackdown on the cleric and his followers since the coup attempt in July 2016.

Gulen, who is based in the United States along with his organisation and family members like Selahaddin, has long denied his involvement in that attempt. Despite repeated requests by Turkey, the US has refused to extradite him and other figures.

This is not the first forced extradition that Turkish intelligence has conducted on Gulenists abroad, as senior members were reported to have been captured in Ukraine in January this year.

READ: Turkey says security cooperation with US government 'has ended'

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