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Bosnia rejects call for extradition of Turkish man allegedly linked to Gulen

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) and his Bosnian counterpart Denis Zvizdic inspect the Bosnian Armed Forces' honor guard during a welcoming ceremony in Sarajevo on March 29, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

A court in Bosnia has rejected Turkey’s request for extradition of a national suspected of involvement in the 2016 failed coup.

The final ruling by Appeals Chamber of Bosnia’s state court on Monday confirmed a verdict by the court last month that dismissed the extradition request for Humeyra Gokcen, saying the Turkish national had requested asylum in Bosnia before Turkey asked for her extradition.

The court also said that it could not verify allegations that Gokcen was a member of a terrorist organization, saying the movement of self-exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, labeled by Turkey as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization,  has not been outlawed by the United Nations or the Council of Europe.

Turkey blames Gulen and his network of cultural and education institutions of being behind the coup on July 16, 2016.

Gulen, who lives in the United States, has denied any role in the abortive coup.

Turkish authorities have been pressing allies and others mainly in Europe to deport people believed to be linked to schools financed by Gulen.

Greece has consistently denied one such request for eight Turkish servicemen who escaped their country following the coup.

The eight Turkish soldiers, who fled to Greece and requested political asylum after a failed military coup against the government, are escorted by police officers as they arrive at the Supreme Court in Athens on January 26, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj swiftly sacked the country’s interior minister and the state security chief last month after he learned that six Turkish nationals had been secretly deported.

There have been reports that some Turkish teachers have left Bosnia under political pressure after the failed coup. However, the Bosnian government has yet to take any concrete action against schools and other institutions related to the cleric.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim visited Sarajevo last month, urging such an action “especially in the sectors of education and business”.

Turkish authorities have also urged Bosnia to shut down Gulen-run establishments.

The Bosnian court examining Gokcen’s extradition case would not elaborate on whether there were other requests for deportation of Turkish nationals from the country.

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