The Turkish Muslim cleric accused by Turkey of plotting a failed coup two months ago denounced the repression of his supporters, calling the crackdown “dark pages in world history.” The severity of the crackdown in Turkey has raised concerns in the United States and Europe that Mr. Erdogan has used the failed coup as a pretext to eradicate political rivals and groups he deems a threat to his power.
An alleged member of the Fetullah Gulen organization was invited on Wednesday to speak to a congressional panel on Turkey, a stunning move that could exacerbate tensions between Ankara and Washington. Ahmet Sait Yayla was added to the original list of speakers to address the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.
US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Dana Rohrabacher said during a hearing titled “Turkey after the July Coup Attempt” in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday that the Turkish government’s claims against a US-based Turkish scholar for masterminding the July 15 coup attempt lack substantial evidence and were not credible.
Turkey has formally requested that the U.S. government extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen from the state of Pennsylvania where he has lived in self-imposed exile for 17 years. Turkey is pushing for quick extradition, suggesting that U.S.-Turkish relations are at stake. But the burden of proof rests squarely on Ankara, and if it cannot sufficiently prove its accusations against Gulen, the extradition request will be refused.
Speaking to a group of reporters in Istanbul on Friday, Bass said although the Turkish government insists that the anti-coup measures it has taken against followers of the Gülen movement are proportionate, it is difficult see that the Turkish government is taking its actions based on a clear criterion. Bass said the US was having difficulty in assessing whether the measures are proportionate and reasonable.
What is going on in Turkey right now reminds me very much of the last few scenes in the first Godfather movie, where Michael Corleone is settling all of the Family’s outstanding business. Corleone is seen in church renouncing “Satan and all his works” while he participates in the baptism of his nephew—shortly before garroting the baby’s father, Carl.
In Pennsylvania, Gülen and his aides scrambled to denounce the coup attempt as it unfolded. “As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt,” Gülen said in a statement, referring to Turkey’s spotty democratic history. The U.S. also was quick to condemn the coup attempt, but not quick enough for many in the Turkish government and media.
Erdogan also made a statement, calling the president of the United States “Barack,” before launching into one of his usual self-serving rants. Typical of a violent Islamist appropriating the moral high ground, the Turkish president agreed that fighting terrorism is of utmost importance. But the “terrorists” to whom he mainly referred were Gulen and the Kurds.
By publicly campaigning for Gülen’s immediate extradition—before a formal request had been submitted—Turkish officials reinforced the idea that the United States is somehow protecting Gülen or resisting the extradition process. That is not true. There will be critics of any eventual decision, just as there are critics of the delay in reaching a decision. Whatever the result, both governments should communicate the decision with consideration for the long-term relationship and should operate on the assumption that the other is acting in good faith.
The wife of a Calgary imam being held in prison near Istanbul, Turkey says she was pleased to hear that Prime Minister Trudeau recently spoke to Turkish officials about the matter. Rumeysa Hanci says her husband Davud had nothing to do with the attempt to overthrow the government. She says the family is still trying to get a lawyer for him.
As part of their Hunger Relief program, Embrace Relief administers qurban organizations all over the world to bring joy to the table of people in need, while helping Muslims take care of their religious obligations. In 2015, qurban donations have been distributed amongst countries such as Bangladesh, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United States. This year, qurban donations will be distributed to those in need in the United States, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
I don’t believe Ankara is ever really going to stray from its partnership with the U.S., because Turkey simply cannot afford it. The coup — failed though it was — has left the formerly expanding Turkish economy gasping. Credit-rating agencies have lowered the nation’s stock, and the purging of coup conspirators, both real and imagined, has left tens of thousands of crucial private- and public-sector positions empty. Economic growth, meanwhile, is expected to dip.
Even before the revolt, this network was already in Erdogan’s sights. Critics say Gulen gets payments from supporters doing contract work on the schools or from “donations” made by Turkish instructors brought to the U.S. on special visas to teach at them, charges he has rejected. Several charter chains thought to be related to the Gulen movement have been investigated by local authorities for misusing taxpayer dollars, but the inquiries haven’t resulted in charges of wrong doing.
In the wake of the coup attempt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has conducted widespread purges of perceived adversaries. As a result, every university dean in Turkey was forced to resign. Some experts have raised questions about whether the university system will be able to function. The ripple effects to American academics are just starting to emerge.