Turkish diplomat nabbed at Saudi airport

Saudi authorities have detained the Turkish defense attaché to Kuwait at Ankara’s request. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed “cleansing” of state institutions with 6,000 people already arrested.

Polizei Saudi Arabien

Quoting unnamed Saudi sources, Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabiya reported Monday that defense attaché Mikail Ihsanoglu was prevented from boarding a flight to Germany from the eastern Saudi city of Dammam.

Authorities said Ihsanoglu had entered Saudi Arabia by land and was ticketed for a flight to the city of Düsseldorf via Amsterdam but was arrested without incident inside the terminal.

It was not immediately clear what – if any – connections Ihsanoglu has in Düsseldorf or Germany in general.

“Saudi authorities are holding the military attaché for the Turkish embassy in Kuwait,” the Saudi kingdom’s Asharq Al-Awsat daily reported, quoting what it described as a foreign diplomatic source.

“He was stopped based on a Turkish request and was detained during his attempt to flee over his likely links to the coup in Turkey,” the daily reported.

Turkey’s ambassador in Kuwait, Salih Morat Tamer, told the Al-Qabas newspaper in Kuwait that Gullu is suspected of involvement in the coup attempt but stressed that “accusations against him are yet to be investigated once he is handed over to Turkey.”

The official Saudi Press Agency meanwhile reported that Saudi King Salman, who is vacationing in Morocco, telephoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “congratulate him on Turkey’s return to normality” after the failed uprising by a faction of the military.

Judges and military commanders are among 6,000 people arrested over the weekend as Erdogan vowed to stamp out the “virus” of the coup plotters he blamed on the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

jar/kms (AFP, dpa)

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