Extradite Gülen? Really?

Michael Rubin
Michael Rubin


Date posted: July 19, 2016

Michael Rubin

For the past three years, if a bird shat on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he would blame Fethullah Gülen, a US-based cleric and former ally. What next transpired would be the only predictable thing about Turkish politics:

  • State-run TRT would broadcast newscasts talking about the plot.
  • Sabah, a paper confiscated by Erdogan and transferred to his son-in-law, would run editorials condemning Gülen and infiltration of flocks of birds.
  • Egemin Bagış, the president’s confidant and peon, would insult Europeans, cite Islamic honor, while smugly mocking the Quran when he felt no one was listening. What he said really would have no relevance to the issue at hand, so both Turks and Western diplomats would shrug their shoulders and ask each other what Erdogan sees in him? Was it Bagış’s big hands?
  • Many Turkish journalists would repeat the conspiracy, hoping that they would mysteriously find enough money in their bank account to buy a posh house on the Bosphorus.
  • Yeni Şafak, meanwhile, might provide some comic relief by noting that the bird was sent from Israel and guided over the president’s head bytelekinesis.
  • Erdogan, of course, would demand the judiciary prosecute those behind the “kuş pisligi darbe.”

The whole matter might sound ridiculous to anyone outside of Turkey, but Erdogan’s supporters follow him blindly.

Enter the current coup plot. Erdogan literally has blamed every obstacle, fanciful plot, and malfeasance upon the elderly cleric. He fingered him in last Friday’s attempted coup even before the smoke settled. Increasingly, it seems the Obama administration might actually take the Turkish president seriously.

We’ve been down this path before. After the Islamic Revolution, Jimmy Carter was desperate to repair US-Iran ties. Ayatollah Khomeini repeatedly brushed him off. Perhaps emissaries might offer some hope behind the scenes but then in rhetoric and state media, Khomeini’s regime would fan anti-Americanism and try to humiliate the hapless president.

When Carter’s outreach failed to sway Tehran, he offered more. Rather than defend the ailing shah who had stood by America during the Cold War, Carter sought not only to hasten the cancer-stricken Shah’s departure for Panama, but he also may have hinted to the Panamanians that the United States would not object should they return him to Iran. The gesture did not assuage Iran’s religious dictator, however. As Peter Rodman, a former aide to Henry Kissinger, noted, “The eagerness to prove goodwill to an intransigent opponent paradoxically makes a settlement less likely.”

It wasn’t just the matter of justice or one man, however.  A willingness to reverse course under pressure and betray allies may have convinced Soviet leaders who already saw Carter as weak that American reaction to an invasion of Afghanistan would be slight.

What’s going on isn’t about Gülen. It’s a power play. When someone is delusional—even if that person happens to be the leader of a NATO ally—the worst thing that someone can do is pander to the delusion.

Source: The American Enterprise Institute , July 19, 2016


Related News

UN and OSCE experts deplore crackdown on journalists and media outlets in Turkey

UN / OSCE: The Government’s purging of personnel and institutions of what it perceives as being dissenting and critical voices, solely on the basis of allegations of membership in the Gülen movement, clearly violates standards of international human rights law.

Albanian president to Erdoğan: Turkish schools pose no threat

In the latest round of a debate surrounding the Turkish schools in Albania, President Bujar Nishani dismissed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s request to shut schools down because of their links to the faith-based Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement.

Turkish Islamic scholar Gülen rejects any link to graft probe

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has rejected any link to an ongoing corruption probe in which 52 people, including well-known businessmen, the sons of three ministers, and a number of advisors, have been detained as part of a major investigation into alleged bribery linked to public tenders. Gülen strongly denied allegations that the probe was launched as part of a row between the government and the Hizmet movement.

Not appearing in the worst selfie in history

For a while now, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been busy with shutting down Turkish schools — affiliated with the Hizmet movement, which is inspired by the teachings of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen — in 160 countries which were opened thanks to the small contributions and tears of the people of this country.

Turkish-Americans in Tennessee worry about their homeland

If you haven’t heard much about the Turkish-American community in middle Tennessee, its no surprise. Now they feel compelled to talk about bridges that are in danger. They are worried about their own country and its failing democracy.

Peshawar High Court halts government order to deport Pak-Turk school staff

Petitioner counsel Qazi Muhammad Anwar argued that all the Turkish teachers are very peaceful people who have committed no crime in Turkey as well as here in Pakistan.” He prayed the bench to suspend the federal government’s notice and stop deportation of the Turkish teachers and their families. The bench accepted the request and restrained the deportation of Pak-Turk schools’ staff.

Latest News

Exclusive: Turkey, Kosovo violated fundamental rights of expelled teachers, UN body says

Sacked policeman’s grim death sparks debate on COVID-19 data in Turkish prisons

Dissidents of the Turkish government are living in fear in Canada

Turkish Food Festival seeks to teach Greenville about Turkey’s culture and cuisine

Chestnut Retreat Center offers a look inside their Saylorsburg facility and its mission

Erdoğan’s overarching purge is not a road accident

Is Gulen the scapegoat of Ankara crisis?

Post-coup purge in Turkey leaves children parentless after mother and father are put behind bars

Turkey’s post-coup purge and persecution makes no exception for children

In Case You Missed It

What Bishop Welby’s appointment reminds: Are we responding to God’s calling?

Gülen calls on followers to adapt to PM’s teaching center closures

Long Arm of Erdogan – His campaign should not be allowed to infiltrate the streets of Britain

The International Festival of Language and Culture visits UN, Ban Ki Moon sends a message

Turkish imam in Copenhagen says embassy spied on 4 people, 14 schools

A peace and dialogue conference in Kyrgyzstan

Turkish trade’s center of gravity shifting in TUSKON bridges

Copyright 2020 Hizmet News