KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — Turgay Karaman, Ihsan Aslan and Turkish academic Ismet Ozcelik were deported home to Ankara, Turkey last night, Malaysia’s top police officer disclosed today.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said trio were wanted men by the Turkish government for suspected involvement with the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (Feto), which is gazetted as a terror group by by the Turkish government and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
“The Royal Malaysian Police’s investigation found they were involved in Feto activities and listed as wanted by Turkish authorities.
“Their travel documents were cancelled by the Turkish government. As such their presence in Malaysia was illegal,” he said in a statement.
Feto is used by the Turkish government to describe followers of an Islamic transnational movement founded by US-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen.
The movement has no official name but its followers usually call it Hizmet (the service) while the general Turkish public refer to it as Cemaat (the community or assembly).
Turgay, 43, and Ihsan 37 were announced to be arrested on May 2 under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) which allows for detention without trial, after their wives reported them missing and feared they were abducted.
Police later confirmed arresting Ozcelik, a director of a Turkish university, on May 5 in Pahang, in connection to activities threatening Malaysia’s security.
Ozcelik was previously arrested on December 13 last year for allegedly obstructing Immigration Department officers from carrying out their duty.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi previously said that Turgay and Ihsan were arrested on suspicion of links to global terror network the Islamic State.
Yesterday, he was reported saying the government may also deport the families of the three men to their country of origin, after discussions with the Turkish embassy here.
National news agency Bernama reported yesterday that the trio were being investigated under Section 130 of the Penal Code, which deals with aiding the escape of, rescuing, or harbouring any “prisoner of State or prisoner of war”.
Malaysian law states that those found guilty in court shall be punished with lifetime imprisonment or for a term of up to 20 years, and a fine.
Khalid said Bukit Aman’s Counter-terrorism division conducted a sting on the three Turks on May 11, with the cooperation of the Malaysian Immigration Department.
“PDRM will continue to monitor and act against any group or foreign terrorist element that attempts to make Malaysia a centre of logistics, a harbour, funding or operations base for them to launch attacks in Malaysia or any other foreign country,” he added.