No fewer than 50 Nigerians studying in Turkey have been reportedly arrested by the Turkish police over their alleged involvement in the failed military coup which took place in the country on July 15th.
According to reports, the Nigerians which are among the 70,000 detained are mainly students of Fathi University, one of the private universities in Turkey.
According to Thisday, a close relative of one of the students said upon arrival at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, they were all escorted to a room and their passport confiscated by the Turkish police.
And when they enquired why they were clamped in a dirty room, the police said they are students of a terrorist organisation and offered to transfer them to government schools but on the condition that they will pay same fees as private universities.
The Federal Government had on Friday summoned the Turkish ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, over report that some Nigerian students were being detained by the police at the Istanbul Airport.
The government had insisted on the release of the detained students and directed the ambassador to ensure the safety and well-being of the students whose school, Fathi University, was among the 2,099 schools shut down by the Turkish government for links with Fethullah Gulen, the alleged mastermind of the failed July 15, 2016 coup in the country.
Meanwhile, there has also been a report of some Nigerian students being deported from Turkey.
One of the deported students, Usman Rukkaya, a final year student of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Melikseh, told TheCable on Saturday that she arrived in Turkey at 8am on September 26, but was detained at the airport for about 10 hours after which she was placed on a plane and flown back to Nigeria, without giving a reason for the action.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sola Enikanolaiye, however, told newsmen that the government would summon Cakil after verifying reports of the deportation of the students.
Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania has been linked to the July 15 failed coup. His educational movement opened schools and universities across Turkey and in 140 other countries from the 1980s.
Now anybody with alleged links to him or the failed takeover is being rounded up in the biggest purge in Turkey’s modern history.
Some 100,000 people have been dismissed or suspended, 70,000 detained and 32,000 arrested: from teachers to soldiers, police to judges, aircraft pilots to journalists. Even the country’s most famous baklava chef was interrogated.