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Malaysia assures Turkey of support to ‘fight’ Gulen movement

 | June 20, 2017

Ambassador Abd Razak Abdul Wahab justifies deportation of three Turkish nationals last month from Malaysia.

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PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian envoy has assured Turkey of Putrajaya’s continued support in its crackdown on the dissenting Gulen movement, following the controversial deportation of three Turkish nationals from Kuala Lumpur last month.

Ambassador to Turkey Abd Razak Abdul Wahab said Malaysia’s move is in line with its stance to back any country in its bid to counter “extremism”.

In an interview published in the Daily Sabah news portal on Sunday, he referred to the extradition of the men as action against “Feto” ( Fetullah Terrorist Organisation), the name given to the movement by the Turkish government which claims it is a terrorist outfit.

Razak was quoted as saying that Malaysia strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and will assist Turkey in the fight against Feto, which he said is categorised as a terrorist organisation by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The interviewer had asked him to provide more information on the cooperation between the two countries following the incident where “several members of the Gulenist Terror Group (Feto), who were arrested in Malaysia for funding Daesh (Islamic State), were deported upon Turkey’s request”.

Razak replied: “Malaysia will assist any country in its fight against extremism.

“Feto has been listed in the wanted list by the Turkish authority and has also been categorised as a terrorist organisation by the OIC.

“Therefore, our action against the Feto movement in Malaysia is in line with this position.”

On May 11, three Turkish men living in Malaysia – Ihsan Aslan, Turgay Karaman and Ismet Ozcelik – were deported after they had been arrested, despite emotional pleas from their families who feared that they would be tortured if sent back.

The families insisted that the men had no links to terrorist activities, saying they were harmless and had done nothing wrong.

The authorities had detained and deported two other Turkish nationals the same way in October 2016.

The Turkish government, headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has blamed Feto of being led by influential preacher Fetullah Gulen, who is now in exile in the US.

Critics and human rights activists have however accused Erdogan of creating Feto, which they say does not exist, to put Gulen in a bad light.

The Turkey Purge web portal, a watchdog that keeps track of alleged civil rights abuses and the political crackdown under Erdogan, reported soon after that the three men were being interrogated by the Counter-Terrorism Department of the Turkish National Police.

On a separate note, Razak also said Malaysia would like to see more investments from Turkey.

“At the moment there is rather an imbalance in terms of investment volume between the two countries.”

He said he hoped that the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two, which came into force on Aug 1, 2015, would help them achieve a trade volume of US$5 billion (RM21.39 billion) by 2020.

“The total trade between Malaysia and Turkey was recorded as US$1.69 billion in 2015. This jumped to US2.32 billion in 2016.”

Razak added that there has been cooperation in the defence industry with DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd (Deftech) undertaking to assemble the ACV-300 armoured combat vehicle made by Turkish military equipment manufacturer FNSS Savunma Sistemleri A.Ş.

The vehicle, which features an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and an armoured personnel carrier (APC), to be supplied to the Malaysian armed forces, has been given the name Adnan.

“Deftech is also undertaking technology collaboration with FNSS and other leading manufacturers of military equipment.

“I believe the defence industry sector has much potential for both countries to collaborate.”

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