Date posted: September 11, 2014
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has described the Turkish government’s request to the US for the extradition of Pennsylvania-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen as a “political move.”
Speaking to journalists following the Cabinet meeting on Monday, Arınç added that he does not know how US would react to this political request. Admitting that there is no legal base for Gülen’s extradition, the deputy prime minister said that without the necessary documents, evidence and a court order, it is not possible to get someone extradited from a country.
“I cannot know what the reaction of a certain country would be in this case of an individual [Gülen] where there aren’t any legal processes under way or a court verdict. There may be judicial assistance between the two countries and sometimes there are extradition agreements between countries, but all of these require prosecution and a conviction. The Turkish Republic is a state governed by the rule of law,” said Arınç.
He also added that the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and US intelligence can work together on the issue of the “parallel structure” in Turkey.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) officials use the term “parallel structure” to refer to the faith-based Hizmet movement.
According to reports in the Turkish media on Sunday, while speaking to journalists on his way back to Turkey from a NATO summit in Wales, Erdoğan was asked if he had requested the extradition of Gülen. Erdoğan had told Turkish media outlets prior to the summit that he would ask Obama to extradite the Islamic scholar.
Erdoğan claims that Gülen poses a threat to Turkey’s national security by allegedly controlling the faith-based Hizmet movement in Turkey, which the government claims is attempting to topple the Turkish government. Gülen lives in self-imposed exile in the US, though there is no legal hurdle preventing him from returning to Turkey.
According to the Turkish press, Erdoğan said on the plane when returning from Wales that during his meeting with Obama, he had mentioned the so-called “parallel structure.”
“In particular I emphasized to [Obama] the need for our intelligence organizations to coordinate more closely on this issue and the need to focus on this [parallel] structure which threatens Turkey’s national security,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also said that in addition to collaboration between intelligence agencies, the US State Department and the Turkish Foreign Ministry will work together and follow the “parallel structure” very closely.
When asked how Obama will approach the issue, Erdoğan said: “At this point, of course, their [the US officials’] approach is to ask for all the documents and information from us about this matter.”
Arınç also touched on the deadly work incident that left 10 workers dead when an elevator carrying workers plunged to the ground from the 32nd floor of a building under construction.
Stressing that the Cabinet had discussed the issue for three hours on Monday, Arınç said Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had asked the Prime Ministry Inspection Board to investigate the incident. Arınç added that the government will work on an occupational safety action plan and that even though the workers who died in the incident are not “martyrs,” the government will nevertheless provide dependents with a pension.
Source: Today's Zaman , September 9, 2014