Albanian Government Rejects Asylum Request by Alleged Gulenist

The Albanian government has rejected Turkish citizen Selami Simsek’s asylum request, who fears persecution in Turkey for alleged ties to the Gulen Movement.

In the decision seen by News 24 TV, the government has concluded that Simsek and his family have no ties to the Gulen Movement, and hence they are not at danger.

It further argues that they didn’t find any serious danger posed by the Turkish state on his person or family.

According to the decision, Simsek’s claim that he could be persecuted in Turkey, where his uncle was arrested for alleged membership in the movement, is not credible.

His attorney told News 24 that they had not been informed of the decision.

Simsek and another Turkish citizen, Harun Celik,  were arrested en route to the Rinas airport, from where they would fly to Canada with fake passports.

They were both convicted in Albania for being in possession of fake documents.

Celik was then deported to Turkey after serving his sentence, even though he had sought political asylum.

Upon his arrival in Turkey, Celik faced charges of being part of the Gulen movement and was promptly arrested.

Simsek’s family claimed that the Albanian government attempted to extradite him as well after his release from prison, in violation of domestic and international laws.

Their cases are being investigated by the UN Human Rights Commissioner.

Members of the European Parliament have called the European Commission to closely watch the Albanian government’s actions related to Simsek.