The seven Turkish nationals returned to Turkey by Bulgarian Border Police after trying to cross into Romania had said only that they wanted to reach Western Europe to find work, and had not asked for international protection, Border Police said after reports that the men were “Gülenists” who had been quietly handed over to Ankara.
Earlier reports said that the seven, found concealed in a lorry while trying to cross into Romania, were linked to US-based Islamic preacher Fetullah Gülen and allegedly were involved in the July 2016 failed attempt at a coup against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Bulgarian Border Police’s Svetoslav Manolov told a special news conference on October 18 that none of those detained before being transferred to Turkey had asked for protection.
Manolov, who said that since the start of 2016 a total of 72 Turkish citizens had been handed back to Turkey by Bulgaria, said that “everyone has the right to claim whatever he wants when he is arrested”.
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