One of the Trump administration’s first decisions about the fight against the Islamic State, ISIS, was made by Michael Flynn weeks before he was fired – and it conformed to the wishes of Turkey, whose interests, unbeknownst to anyone in Washington, he’d been paid more than $500,000 to represent.
If nothing else, the timing of this is certainly interesting. Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Washington for his meeting with President Trump scheduled for later today. It’s an encounter which I already described as problematic at best, given Erdogan’s new status as a strongman and tyrant, and it doesn’t seem to hold the promise of much benefit on our part.
The exiled cleric accused by Turkey of orchestrating last year’s attempted coup charged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with seeking to silence critics, as the Turkish leader prepared to push for the preacher’s extradition in a White House meeting with Donald Trump.
The Turkish Culture Center of Brooklyn feted a bevy of Brooklyn elected officials tonight as part of their eighth Annual Friendship Dinner & Award ceremony celebrating cultural diversity with the theme of the evening being “Hate Crime.”
The Erdogan government jails its citizens without due process, severely curtails freedom of speech by jailing journalists, and ignores the plight of vulnerable minorities. They are the least credible messengers to warn Americans about their civic duty. The Turkish Consulate’s attempt to use McCarthyite tactics to spread fear and unduly influence American civic life is simply abhorrent and deserves condemnation.
Mr Gulen denies any role in the failed coup in July, and US officials have privately said the evidence provided by Turkey has been inadequate, while voluminous. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim recently described the delay as a joke on Turkey.
An American pastor who has been jailed on bogus terrorism charges in Turkey for more than five months has asked US President Donald Trump to help secure his release. Pastor Brunson has no known ties to terrorist groups, and the Turkish government has not produced any evidence to show that he does.
James Woolsey says he attended a September meeting where other participants, including then-Trump adviser Mike Flynn, talked of moving Fethullah Gulen back to Turkey without going through U.S. extradition process.
Turkish leaders said they were astonished that they had so far been unsuccessful in persuading the United States Justice Department to even ask a federal judge to extradite Fethullah Gulen. The Turkish government said it had provided the United States with extensive proof against Mr. Gulen, who has denied involvement. But Turkish officials refused in several interviews to publicize a single piece of that evidence.
The 2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices — the Human Rights Reports — released by the US State Department on Friday said that Turkish courts had imprisoned tens of thousands of people with little clarity on charges and evidence over their alleged links with a failed coup in July 2016 that was blamed on the Gülen movement.
Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser, acted as a foreign agent representing the interests of Turkey’s government in exchange for more than $500,000 during last year’s campaign even as he was advising Mr. Trump. Mr. Flynn was assigned to investigate Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who lives in Pennsylvania.
The Alliance for Shared Values “rejects the accusation” by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus that Gulen is planning a move to Canada, it said in a statement on its website. The Alliance also reiterated its call for an end to attempts to stymie voices of democratic dissent, including journalists, academics, Kurds, liberals and participants in the Hizmet movement.
Sacrificing Gülen, however, will not bring Turkey in from the cold. While the pretext might have been rooting out Gülen’s followers, the reality is that Erdogan has used the purge to target secularists, liberals, and those officers whose training and experience in NATO he believes make them prone to oppose his vision and goals for Turkey.