Turkish Demirel College manager arrested in Tbilisi, allegedly for facilitating terrorist activity
Mustafa Emre Çabuk, ex-principal of the R. Shahin Friendship High School in Georgia, as well as general manager of the Turkish Demirel College, was arrested in Georgia on 24 May. He was reportedly arrested at the request of the Turkish authorities, allegedly for having links to the FETÖ terrorist organization (Gülenist terrorist organization).
According to Soso Baratashvili, Mustafa Çabuk’s lawyer, several Turkish businessmen were also arrested in Georgia along with his client. In Baratashvili’s words, Mustafa Çabuk was suspected of attempting to transfer Demirel College to the terrorist organization.
As Mustafa Çabuk’s lawyer explained, the U.S. organization that was supposed to take over the college’s management wasn’t on the terrorist organizations’ list, and the reasons for his client’s arrest were unclear to him.
The private Demirel College, as well as some other Georgia-based educational institutions that are part of the Çaglar network, are associated with Fethullah Gülen. The latter has been accused of orchestrating a military coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July, 2016. The Turkish leadership has openly cracked down on R. Shahin School, claiming that it has been ‘raising terrorists’.
Tuba Çabuk, Mustafa Çabuk’s wife, reported on her husband’s arrest through social media. She appealed to the Georgian President and the Prime Minister on 24 May, requesting not to extradite her husband to Turkey.
“It apparently comes from Turkey. The Turkish delegation was visiting Georgia yesterday and my husband was arrested this morning, right after that visit. The investigators also confirmed that my husband didn’t have any legal problems in Georgia,” said Tuba Çabuk.
The Georgian Interior Ministry hasn’t commented on Mustafa Çabuk’s arrest yet.
The Turkish Prime Minister and Cabinet members were on official visit in Georgia from 22-23 May. During the visit, the parties reached agreements on cooperation in various fields, including on legal issues.