Turkey’s president on Saturday slammed Kosovo’s premier for firing top officials after Turkey secured the deportation of six alleged members of FETO, the terrorist group behind a defeated 2016 coup.
Speaking at a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party congress in Pendik, Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo’s prime minister, for firing Kosovo’s interior minister and intelligence agency.
“Whose instructions made you take this step?” Erdogan asked.
Mentioning that Turkey was the second country to recognize Kosovo's independence in 2008, after the U.S., he added: “When did you start to protect those who plotted a coup in the Republic of Turkey?”
He said that these actions would be held accountable.
In cooperation with Kosovo intelligence, Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) on Thursday arrested six men said to be in charge of FETO activities in the Balkans as well as smuggling FETO terrorist members out of Turkey to go to Europe or the U.S.
Once in Turkey, the alleged Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) members -- all wanted under Turkish law as fugitives -- were handed over to the judiciary.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that martyred 250 people and left nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses the group of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
During his speech, Erdogan also updated the number of terrorists “neutralized” in Syria’s northwestern Afrin to 3,281.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear the YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorist groups from Afrin amid growing threats from the region