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Bosnia rejects Turkish extradition request against alleged 'Gulenists'

Bosnian court turns down Turkey request for extradition of national allegedly linked to schools run by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen
Turkey has demanded its allies extradite alleged members of Fethullah Gulen's movement, which Ankara blames for a 2016 attempted coup (AFP)

A Bosnian court has rejected Turkey’s request to extradite a Turkish citizen accused of links to Fethullah Gulen, whose group Turkey blames for the 2016 failed coup.

Amid increased pressure from Turkey on its allies to turn over citizens linked to schools run by Gulen, a US-based Turkish cleric, the court ruled that Humeyra Gokcen should not be extradited because she had requested asylum from Bosnia before Turkey’s request.

According to the unpublished decision by the Bosnian state court’s Appeals Chamber, obtained by Reuters, the court also said neither the UN nor the Council of Europe had verified Gulen’s movement was a terrorist organisation, as Turkey has claimed.

Six Turkish nationals were secretly extradited from Kosovo last month, creating internal rifts that led to Kosovan Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj dismissing the interior minister and security chief.

Ankara has dismissed more than 100,000 public workers since the 2016 attempt to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing them of links to Gulen’s movement.

Since 2013, Erdogan has accused Gulen of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government by creating a “parallel state” within the civil service and military, culminating in the failed coup that killed 250 people.

Ankara has claimed Gulen extended his influence through Turkish society with his network of schools, which operated in up to 160 countries before Turkey pressured its allies to close them down following the coup. 

Turkey’s parliament speaker Ismail Kahraman reiterated the government’s determination to crack down on the party on Monday.

"We are holding them accountable, and we will continue to hold them accountable,” he told parliament, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Turkey has requested the extradition of several other nationals it claims arrived in Bosnia after the coup attempts, a source close to the matter told Reuters.

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