Turkish news outlets lit up this weekend after a former Republican lawmaker published an op-ed at The Hill calling on the U.S. government to extradite Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Muslim cleric whose return to Turkey is an obsession for the NATO nation’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The family that owns Dogan Holding has long been influential in Turkey’s secular establishment and ran afoul of Mr. Erdogan’s Islamist-based A.K.P. Party in 2009. With the company targeted again and fearful of losing more assets, the newspaper Hurriyet is widely seen as pulling punches to appease Mr. Erdogan by firing journalists and quashing even mildly critical news stories.
Regardless of the threat Gulen poses as the purported leader of an international apparatus, any movement is a threat in that it is not easily controlled. If Gulen is right, and Erdogan fears anything that he cannot control, then the Gulen movement with its critical stance towards what it regards as abuses of the public trust, must seem threatening indeed.
The Intercultural Dialogue Institute of uOttawa is organizing a panel – “Losing Touch with Humanity in Times of War.” At the panel, there also will be fundraising for a charity organization, the Peace and Progress International, which is actively working to improve conditions for Syrians in refugee camps.
No investigation has been launched in the United States in connection with Turkey’s comments of the Gulen movement’s possible role in the Russian ambassador’s murder, a senior US Department of State official told TASS.
John Kirby, spokesman of the US State Department, said “Secretary [Kerry] has raised concerns about some of the rhetoric coming out of Turkey with respect to American involvement or support, tacit or otherwise, for this unspeakable assassination yesterday because of the presence of Mr. Gülen here in the United States.”
Now for the fourth time, Embrace Relief is organizing another campaign to assist Syrian refugees abroad, this time to Syrians in refugee camps in Iraq. We are asking our volunteers to bring new or gently used blankets and winter coats to one of the drop-off locations.
Turkey’s Erdogan regime has arrested an American pastor whom they could use in a possible exchange for the Turkish Muslim cleric they want to extradite from the United States. The Muslim Fethullah Gülen is accused by the Erdogan regime to be the mastermind behind the latest failed-military-coup intending to depose the president.
“Turkey desperately wants the U.S. government to extradite an imam [Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen],” Maddow explained. “They [the U.S.] have said that they are not extraditing him. But if that’s what you wanted, what if you could squeeze the personal financial interests of the American president as a way to get what you want from the American government?”
Duncan Pike of the Toronto-based Canadian Journalists for Free Expression said the decline of press freedom in Turkey has been a growing concern as the Tayyip Erdogan regime continues to use the coup as a pretext to crack down on opposition critical of his government. “Reporters are stripped of press credentials. Publishing houses are closed down. Authors, journalists, teachers and academics are detained and investigated,” said Pike.
An email included in Wikileaks’ Monday publication of the leaked emails of Berat Albayrak, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s minister of energy, shows that Albayrak fabricated news with pro-government people in the United States in order to defame the Gülen movement in the US media.
If the executive branch were to interfere too forcefully in the Gülen extradition case now, it would only confirm Turkish leaders’ belief that the U.S. system operates on the same corrupt terms as Turkey’s. This would fundamentally affirm Erdoğan’s view that democracy as a value and a practice is a purely cynical discourse used by Western powers to harm Turkey.
There is a curious reluctance on the part of the Turkish government to carry out an in-depth investigation of the coup, but the blame has been put unequivocally on an erstwhile ally, Fethullah Gülen, a reclusive Turkish imam resident in Pennsylvania, and the cadres of his movement, which enabled Erdogan and the AKP to come to and hold power.