The U.S. may face a choice between geopolitical calculation and human decency

M. Fethullah Gulen
M. Fethullah Gulen


Date posted: August 27, 2016

Herb Rothschild

Although he’s been living in the U.S. since 1997, Muhammed Fethullah Gülen isn’t a household name here. He may soon become one. In the wake of the failed coup attempt in Turkey last month, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has pressured the U.S. to extradite Gülen to face charges of instigating the coup. Depending on what’s in the 85 boxes of evidence that Turkey has sent to support its request, our government may face a choice between geopolitical calculation and human decency.

Word is that only three of the boxes contain evidence gathered after the coup attempt. Erdogan has been after Gülen since 2013, when Turkish law enforcement officials and prosecutors launched investigations into widespread corruption at the highest levels of Erdogan’s administration. Erdogan’s response was to discharge all the investigators he could and accuse Gülen of being behind a plot to discredit him. That charge was self-serving, and Turkey’s notoriety for torturing those arrested on political grounds taints any post-coup evidence Turkey has sent to us.

So who is Gülen? He’s the leader of a global movement that, relative to most versions of Islam, seems moderate if not liberal. The movement has no official name but is usually referred to as Hizmet (Turkish for “service”). Its followers operate private schools and universities in over 180 countries as well as charter schools in our country. It also has an employers’ association, charities, real estate trusts, student organizations and broadcast and print media.

Such movements, especially if they’re Muslim, attract suspicion in the West. In 2008, the Dutch government began investigating Hizmet. Its conclusions were that the movement isn’t involved in terrorism or a breeding ground for radicalism, nor does it oppose integration of Muslims into secular states. In 2015, MLK’s alma mater, Morehouse College, awarded its Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award to Gülen for his lifelong commitment to peace among nations and to interfaith dialogue. But Erdogan insists that Gülen is a terrorist and has named his movement the Gülenist Terror Organisation.

Our extradition treaty with Turkey affords Gülen judicial process, so our government can’t just hand him over. But on Aug. 10, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported Erdogan as saying, “Sooner or later the U.S. will make a choice. Either Turkey or FETÖ.”

The U.S. has long regarded Turkey, a member of NATO since 1952, as a key military partner. Just last month Erdogan gave us permission to launch airstrikes against ISIS from its two air bases near the Syrian border. That reduces time to target from four hours to 10 minutes.

But all isn’t well with the relationship. The Turkish government views the independence-minded Kurds in their country as a threat, whereas the Kurds have been our allies, first against Saddam Hussein, then against the Sunni insurgency after Saddam’s fall, and lately against ISIS. Erdogan has become increasingly dictatorial and abusive of human rights. Then he stuck his finger in our eye by visiting Moscow this month, the latest in a series of fence-mending actions with his neighbor. The U.S. won’t break with Turkey over any of the above; VP Joe Biden just hustled over to Ankara to calm the waters. But with his demand for Gülen’s extradition, Erdogan has positioned himself to break it off with us whenever he wants.

Among the many burdens of running a global empire is that it’s one damn thing after another.

Herb Rothschild’s column appears in the Tidings every Saturday.

Source: Ashland Daily Tidings , Aug. 27, 2016


Related News

Destici: No one should attempt to change law to save themselves

Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Mustafa Destici, speaking about an ongoing corruption operation and the government’s response to it, said on Sunday that everyone has a responsibility to respect the laws in the country and that efforts to change the laws to protect a certain group of people from accusations are unacceptable.

Asylum for Fethullah Gulen Movement Supporters?

Gulen movement supporters who have been persecuted or who fear persecution in their home country due to an association with the movement should qualify for a grant of asylum in the U.S. on the basis of both religion and political opinion. Even those who are not closely associated with the movement, but who fear persecution because the government falsely accuses them of involvement, should have strong cases for asylum.

A Comparative Approach to Islam and Democracy

Religion, particularly Islam, has become one of the most difficult subject areas to tackle in recent years. Contemporary culture, whether approached from the perspective of anthropology or theology, psychology or psychoanalysis, evaluates religion with empirical methods. On the one hand, religion is an inwardly experienced and felt phenomenon, one mostly related to life’s permanent aspects.

Kerry: Turkish President’s Insinuation of US Role in Attempted Coup is ‘Harmful to Our Bilateral Relations’

John Kerry: We invite the government of Turkey, as we always do, to present us with any legitimate evidence that withstands scrutiny. And the United States will accept that and look at it and make judgments about it appropriately.”

Erdogan Uses Coup Like Hitler Used Reichstag Fire, Austrian Far-right Leader Says

Turkey’s failed coup and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s subsequent purges of state institutions are reminiscent of the Reichstag fire in Nazi Germany and its use by Hitler to amass greater power, the head of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party said.

Gülen’s lawyer denies allegation of plot against Erdoğan’s daughter, calls it ’immoral slander’

A lawyer for Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen categorically denied claims by pro-government newspapers that Gülen ordered the assassination of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s daughter Sümeyye Erdoğan ahead of the June 7 general elections, calling the allegations “immoral slander” that he regrets even having to deny.

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

Fethullah Gulen’s response to ‘coup’ accusations

Hate discourse directed against Hizmet movement

Hizmet, Erdoğan and the US

Pakistan admits they secretly deported Turkish family wanted by Erdogan govt

Being a Non-Muslim During Ramadan

[Press Release] The Corruption and Slander against the Hizmet Movement

Fethullah Gulen Acquitted

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News