Malaysia handed over three members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) to Turkey late Thursday for being a threat to national security, police said on Friday.
Turgay Karaman, principal of an international school, and businessman Ihsan Aslan had been arrested May 2 for "activities threatening [Malaysia’s] national security" under the special security law -- which allows detention of suspects without trial.
Ismet Ozcelik, former vice chair of a Turkish university, was also arrested on May 5 under the same charges.
Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed the deportation of the FETO suspects on social media.
He wrote on his twitter account: "@PDRMsia confirms that Turkish nationals; Turgay Karaman, Ihsan Aslan, and Ismet Ozcelik were deported to Ankara last night."
Khalid, however, denied that his department had acted on the Turkish government's orders in arresting Ozcelik and two other Turkish nationals, Turgay Karaman and Ihsan Aslan.
"We have our own laws to protect national security. We have the right to determine who we want to arrest and detain.
"Anyone who threatens our national security is not welcome here," Khalid told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur last week.
Suspects detained in Turkey
The suspects were detained in Turkey after arriving in Istanbul from Malaysia early Friday, a police official said.
They were handed over to the Ankara Police Department’s anti-terror unit for interrogation, the official said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen are accused of orchestrating the defeated July 2016 coup, which left 249 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara has said FETO is also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, and has also accused it of infiltrating other countries through educational institutions, among others.
Reporting by Mehmet Ozay and Sertac Bulur;Writing by Meryem Goktas