Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday he and his visiting Kyrgyz counterpart agreed on the dangers posed by the network of a preacher Ankara blames for a failed coup attempt.
Erdogan’s comments came as protesters rallied in the capital Bishkek over the unexplained disappearance of a Turkish-born Kyrgyz citizen who used to head schools linked to the US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Orhan Inandi was reported missing just days after Turkey’s MIT intelligence service announced it had detained one of Gulen’s nephews in Kenya.
Ankara has arrested tens of thousands of people suspected to have links to Gulen and repatriated dozens accused of belonging to his network since the military putsch failed in July 2016.
But Ankara had said nothing of Inandi’s disappearance near his Bishkek home late last month.
“We both agree that (the network) poses a national security threat to our two countries,” Erdogan said during a joint news appearance with Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov.
“I hope we will overcome this threat together, shoulder to shoulder.”
Inandi’s wife said last week she has reasons to believe that her husband was being kept inside Turkey’s embassy in Bishkek.
But the Kyrgyz interior ministry said it had enlisted more than 1,000 police in a search of Inandi.
Kyrgyz police said on June 1 that Inandi’s car had been found close to his home with one of the doors ajar.
The conflict between Erdogan and Gulen has created a dilemma for Kyrgyzstan.
The poor former Soviet republic’s private school network organized by Gulen’s followers stands out in the local education market.
But Turkey has been an important partner and Japarov said on Wednesday that he hopes to boost trade.
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