Turkey Pressures North Macedonia Over Extradition of ‘Gulenists’

After the Turkish ambassador to Skopje, Hasan Mehmet Sekizkok, on Wednesday said that his country wants 86 alleged "Gulenists" deported from North Macedonia, 20 of whom it wants to be extradited to Turkey, authorities in Skopje responded that they are working on it.

In an ambiguous statement issued on Thursday, North Macedonia's Justice Ministry said that it is cooperating with the Turkish authorities on this issue.

"We will act according to domestic legislation and international standards and agreements," the ministry said.

One day before, Ambassador Sekizkok told a press conference in Skopje marking the fifth anniversary of the failed coup Turkey that Turkey won't give up on its demands for the deportation and extradition of people it suspects are connected to the self-exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara considers a terrorist.

"The structures of FETO are still located in North Macedonia hidden behind educational institutions and companies. In any case, we are forwarding to the authorities of North Macedonia our requests for the closure of the FETO structures and the deportation of persons related to it," Sekizkok said.

Ankara holds Gulen responsible for the 2016 failed coup and has since cracked down hard on his supporters at home and in the region, calling them the "FETO", short for Fethullah Terrorist Organisation.

Gulen has denied responsibility for the failed coup, and the US has so far ignored Turkish demands for it to extradite him.

The Ambassador said that the relations between Turkey and North Macedonia remain strong, as they are placed on firm foundations, and that in principle they are not dependant on cases like this.

Turkey and North Macedonia do not have a signed bilateral...

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