Algerian president phoned Erdoğan to return fugitive military official - Reuters

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune telephoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July in what turned out to be a successful bid to return a fugitive military official, Reuters reported on Sunday.

Guermit Bounouira was handed over to Algerian security officials in Turkey on Thursday, Reuters said. He will face a military court on Monday after allegedly leaking a chart showing movements of army officers, including their names and codes, according to Reuters, which cited an unnamed top Algerian security source. The chart had circulated on social media, it said.

Bounouira was a leading aide to late army chief Ahmed Gaed Salah, who had distanced the military from the country’s mass protests that unseated veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his government early last year.

After Gaed Salah died of a heart attack on Dec. 23, weeks after a presidential election he sponsored but protest movements opposed as illegitimate, Bounouira fled to Turkey and leaked military secrets to activists, the security source said.

Turkey’s surrender of Bounouira underscores the importance Ankara attaches to its relationship with Algeria, a powerful neighbour of Libya where Turkish forces have intervened in the civil war, according to Reuters.

Although Tebboune opposes direct foreign involvement in Libya, the source said Algeria and Turkey have maintained good relations.

“We have worked very well with our counterparts in Turkey,” the source said.