Group arrived in Turkey from Gabon on private plane, say sources
Turkish intelligence officers on Tuesday brought three senior Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) members to Turkey following an anti-terror operation against the group in Gabon, a Central African country, security sources said.
The group was brought to Turkey from the capital Libreville on a private plane, the sources said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
The senior FETO members were arrested by Gabon’s security forces on March 23, the sources added.
The group includes Osman Ozpinar, Ibrahim Akbas, and Adnan Demironal.
Several documents related to the terror group, $20,800, 12 million Central African francs ($22,560), and several electronic telecommunication devices were also seized from the three men.
According to the sources, Turkish courts had already issued arrest warrants on Ozpinar on the charge of membership in an armed terrorist group.
Ozpinar has worked as the head of the FETO-linked International Turkish Gabon School in Libreville and as of May 2017, he has assumed the position of coordinator and director-general of Light Academy, an umbrella group operating FETO’s schools across Kenya, according to the sources.
Ozpinar also has reportedly used ByLock messaging app, an encrypted smartphone app used by FETO members before and during the defeated coup of July 2016.
Demironal, another FETO member who was brought back, also had an arrest warrant issued on him by an Ankara court for membership in an armed terror organization.
He assumed the top position at the FETO-linked Light Schools in Gabon, formerly known as Ecole Privée International Turco-Gabon.
Akbas was sought too on arrest warrants issued by two separate Turkish courts for being a FETO member.
Akbas used the messaging app ByLock and worked as the director general at Light Schools in Gabon. He was responsible for channeling the money the terror group transferred to Africa from Europe.
In a separate operation on March 29, Turkish intelligence officers brought six senior FETO members back to Turkey after rounding them up in Kosovo.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated July 2015 defeated coup in Turkey, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.