“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.
Members of the Saudi royal family are known financiers of madrassas, informal education centers around the world that propagate Wahhabiism, an extremist interpretation of Islam. Will the [pro-Erdogan] New York dormitory function as a madrassa?
There is no longer any doubt that Turkey conducts operations in the United States against Turks and Kurds with whom Erdogan disagrees. That problem will likely get worse as Erdogan digs in his heels and demands the extradition of exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen. While Turkish officials have turned over reams of papers detailing why Turkey believes Gülen is a malign influence, none of the evidence Turkey has provided actually implicates Gülen in the events of July 15.
Gulen has never been charged with a crime in the U.S., and he has consistently denounced terrorism as well as the failed coup in Turkey. One of Gulen’s lawyers, Jason Weinstein, called Flynn’s comments about Gulen “troubling” but said the extradition process is a legal matter in the hands of the Department of Justice.
There is a rule-of-law in the United States and a process which the president simply does not have the power to short-circuit. If Gulen is turned over, however, I suspect relations will get worse because the extradition will convince Erdogan that blackmail and bluster work.
“If Gülen is turned over, however, I suspect relations will get worse because the extradition will convince Erdoğan that blackmail and bluster work,” said Rubin in an interview published in the Vocal Europe magazine on Monday.
An intelligence consulting firm founded by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s top military adviser, was recently hired as a lobbyist by an obscure Dutch company with ties to Turkey’s government and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The extradition process is a serious one, governed by [a] treaty with Turkey that is clear about the steps that need to be taken in such cases. It should not be a political matter,” the lawyers wrote. “The United States has strong democratic institutions, including its judiciary system, where these high-level issues are handled. We expect and are confident that will be the case in the next administration.”
In yet another example of scapegoating the Gülen movement for anything bad in Turkey or in anywhere else in the world, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief advisor Yiğit Bulut hinted at connections between FETÖ and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US.