The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu who is visiting Albania today has thanked the government for “steps” against the Gulen Movement, and urged it to hand over its members, considered terrorists by Turkey.
Cavusoglu and Albania’s Acting Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj also signed three agreements; on the mutual recognition of driving licenses, exchange of young diplomats, and on aligning the work in international organizations regarding war against organized crime and terrorism.
The Turkish minister claimed that Gulenists are “not only a threat to Turkey but to countries where they are located,” adding that they were “controlled by some countries’ secret services.” Cavusoglu said they must be returned to Turkey, reminding the government that they “expect the support and contribution of Albania” in education and other matters. He added that there are many Gulenists in Albania and that the government “has taken some steps” but Turkey expects it to do more.
The Turkish government claims that the failed 2016 coup d’etat was masterminded by Fethullah Gulen. In the subsequent years, the government has cracked down on academics, journalists, activists, and workers in the civil service that it claims are linked to the uprising. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accused of using the failed coup as an excuse to tighten his grip on the country.
Earlier this year, Albania expelled Turkish citizen Harun Celik who had asked for asylum in the country. This extradition raised concerns and has been condemned as being unlawful and against Celik’s human rights.
In May 2016, Rama declared that those in Albania suspected of being linked to the movement are being kept under surveillance.