Let Mr. Erdogan Fight His Own Battles


Date posted: May 3, 2014

Not long ago, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher in Pennsylvania, were the best of allies. Mr. Erdogan heads an Islamist government, and Mr. Gulen promotes a moderate, pro-Western brand of Sunni Islam that appeals to many well-educated and professional Turks. The two men had a common purpose in confronting and weakening the country’s once-dominant secular military and political leadership.

But the collaboration has since devolved into a bitter power struggle, and now Mr. Erdogan is trying to drag the United States into the argument by threatening to demand Mr. Gulen’s extradition to Turkey. The American government is obliged to examine the request if Mr. Erdogan follows through and formally files one. But right now the threat seems to be nothing more than a crass and cynical attempt to exploit the law, and Turkey’s alliance with the United States, for political payback.

The power struggle, which erupted last year, has been fueled by a corruption scandal that has ensnared Mr. Erdogan, many of his cronies and his son. Recordings of telephone conversations that surfaced in recent months appear to show widespread corruption in the government. Mr. Erdogan, a once-promising leader who has grown increasingly authoritarian, has charged that Mr. Gulen’s network of followers is behind the scandal.

In an interview on Charlie Rose’s PBS talk show this week, Mr. Erdogan said that the telephone wiretaps were clearly illegal and that he expected the United States to respond positively to the request. That is not a given.

Some experts say there is no legal basis for an extradition request because there are no charges or legal cases against Mr. Gulen, who has permanent-resident status and has lived in rural Pennsylvania since 1997. He left Turkey in the 1990s after being accused of urging the overthrow of the secularist government; he denied the charges, which were dropped when Mr. Erdogan came to power. Mr. Gulen has broad influence in Turkey through followers who hold jobs in the judiciary, the police and the media. But he has denied encouraging them to pursue graft investigations against Mr. Erdogan and his allies.

For the United States to approve an extradition request, the person must be accused of a crime recognized in both jurisdictions, and there must be a reasonable belief that the person committed the crime. It seems unlikely those conditions exist. Washington has not considered Mr. Gulen a threat, or he would not have been able to remain in the country.

So far, the Obama administration has declined to comment publicly on the issue, which has the potential to cause serious and unnecessary new tensions with Turkey. It would be an abuse of extradition law to use it for political reasons. Mr. Erdogan should fight his political battles on his own.

Source: New York Times , May 2, 2014


Related News

Joint mosque-cemevi project will contribute to peace in Turkey

Protests against a joint mosque-cemevi (Alevi house of worship) complex project are meaningless because the project will help alleviate tensions between Alevis and Sunnis in Turkey, Alevi community leaders said on Monday. During the groundbreaking ceremony of the complex in Ankara on Sunday, a group of nearly 500 people protested against the project, clashing with […]

Erdogan’s endless legitimacy crisis

Erdogan, who is avoiding dealing with the corruption charges, cannot preserve his government on the dead-end street he has entered.

Animation – Story of Turkish teacher Gokhan Acikkollu, tortured to death under police custody

Gökhan Açıkkollu, a history teacher suffering from diabetes, died of torture in police custody as part of a post-coup investigation into Turkey’s Gülen group. He was found innocent one-and-a-half years later and “reinstated” to his job a year later.

Gülen, a man of peace, not behind attempted coup in Turkey

Despite Gülen’s repeated denials of any involvement and his open call for an investigation by an international commission, no concrete effort has been made to find out the true perpetrators of the heinous attempt. Instead, a state of emergency, which still continues today, was declared and is used to silence the opposition and all other critical voices.

Victims of Turkey’s purge exploited also by lawyers with exorbitantly high fees

Victims of Turkey’s post-coup purge have been taking another toll from lawyers who ask outrageously high prices either to keep themselves out of trouble or to exploit from the lost causes. In Turkey, the presumption of innocence has been dramatically reversed and now everybody is assumed guilty until they prove their innocence.

2014: a difficult year?

Turkey’s political life has entered a zone of turbulence. Some people were already accusing the governing team of being time worn, which is only normal after 11 consecutive years in power.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Tears and sadness as Turkish people pack up to leave Pakistan

Bangladeshi professor published his second book on Fethullah Gulen

Çubukçu: Turkish schools important bridge between Turkey and N. Iraq

Turkmen Alevite Association and Kimse Yok Mu distribute aid to 1840 families in Ramadan

Illegal raid against Bank Asya spells disaster for Turkey, says TUSKON head

Turkish Cultural Center Brooklyn Honors Borough’s Elected Officials

Financial Times: Turkey’s crackdown on dissent has gone too far

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News