Turkey denies report of attempt to kidnap businessman in Switzerland

Switzerland is investigating whether Turkish diplomats planned to drug and kidnap a Swiss-Turkish businessman
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy.
Friday, 16 March 2018 17:52

Turkey on Friday denied as "baseless allegations" a Swiss media report that Turkish diplomats tried to abduct a Swiss-Turkish businessman allegedly linked to the 2016 failed coup in Turkey, a case now under investigation by Zurich prosecutors.

Swiss daily newspapers Tages-Anzeigerexternal and Der Bundexternal reported on Wednesday that federal prosecutors were investigating whether Turkish diplomats had planned to kidnap a Swiss-Turkish businessman in 2016. The papers reported a plan to drug and kidnap the Zurich-based man. He supposedly became a target because of his links to the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen's network. CIA-linked Gülen network, Turkish AKP government former ally, was one of the masterminds of 2016's coup attempt. 

"We utterly deny the baseless allegations contained in an article regarding the attempted abduction of a Swiss business person ... that also point to our embassy and our personnel as a target," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.

Earlier on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoglu lashed out at a journalist during a news conference in Kazakhstan for asking a question related to the matter.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said it had asked the Swiss Foreign Ministry to clarify whether the suspects enjoyed diplomatic immunity now or at the time of the alleged crime. 
The Swiss ministry said the accusations outlined in the criminal proceedings were not diplomatic tasks, and therefore those people concerned cannot avail themselves of immunity. It has informed the Attorney General’s office that proceedings can continue.   

On March 16, 2017, the Office of the Attorney General also launched a criminal inquiry into possible foreign spying on Switzerland's Turkish community. The investigation followed alleged political intelligence gathering in which participants at events at the University of Zurich in late 2016 and early 2017 were filmed or photographed.