Moldovan Information and Security Service (SIS) on Thursday detained six Turkish nationals who were working for a Gülen-linked school in Moldova, Orizont Moldovan-Turkish Schools, as part of the Turkish government’s global witch hunt against the Gülen movement.
They were apprehended by police either on their ways to school, or from their houses, an in a case, the SIS agents used force to break into the premises of the detainee.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was expected to visit Moldova in September or October, according to the country’s President Igor Dodon. Previously Erdoğan has asked from Moldovan Parliament Speaker Andria Candu to close the Gülen-linked schools.
Hasan Karacaoğlu, Hüseyin Bayraktar, Rıza Doğan, Feridun Tüfekçi, Yasin Öz and Müjdat Çelebi were among the detained Turkish nationals.
Tüfekçi was the principal of the Ceadir-Lunga branch of the schools, and Rıza Doğan was the principal of the Durlesti branch.
Apart from Hüseyin Bayraktar, all other five people applied for an asylum in the country in April 2018 and were expecting a response from the Moldovan authorities this month.
A statement by SIS suggested that the detainees were “suspected of ties with an Islamist group, a group about which there are indications that they are acting illegally in several countries,” and that they “have been declared undesirable by competent authorities and expelled from the territory of the Republic of Moldova.”
The relatives of the detainees were not informed about the whereabouts. According to local sources, students of the schools and their families arrived at an airport, where the detainees could be handed over to Turkish security forces in order to be brought back to Turkey, protesting the detention.
In March 2018, the general director of the schools, Turgay Şen, was detained by the Moldovan security forces over the Turkish government’s extradition demands; however he was released without charges.
Another Turkish educationist in Mongolia, Veysel Akçay, was detained in late July this year over the Turkish government’s extradition request, but due to the interference of Mongolian authorities and international pressure, he was released.
The Turkish government has launched both domestic and global crackdown against the Gülen movement with accusing it of orchestrating a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, although the movement strongly denied any involvement.
As a result of the global witch-hunt, more than 100 Gülen-linked Turkish national were brought back to Turkey through intelligence service operations and co-operations of other countries, including Kosovo, Qatar, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Gabon and Myanmar.