Bulgaria hands ‘Gülen ally’ Büyük to Turkey

Bulgaria has deported Turkish business person Abdullah Büyük, who has alleged ties to anti-Erdoğan opposition leader and Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, to Turkey, but Bulgaria’s Interior Minister has denied that this was the result of a “secret deal” between Sofia and Ankara.

Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova, speaking in a television interview on August 11, said that Büyük was expelled from Bulgaria because he lacked legal residence status.

Büyük had been the subject of an extradition request by Turkey, which alleges that he has a significant role in financing Gülen – who is alleged by Ankara to have masterminded the failed coup attempt against Turkish president Erdogan – but in March 2016, Sofia Appellate Court confirmed rejection of the extradition request.

The court found that Turkey had not provided sufficient evidence of the crimes it alleged he committed, including terrorism and money laundering.

Buchvarova said that Büyük had entered Bulgaria in February using documents that were invalid, according to the Interpol database.

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