Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is present at the reunion of world leaders taking place at the United Nations. He has given an interview this Monday.
Among many things discussed was the situation regarding Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan has made it clear on several occasions how he feels about the Turkish cleric. He said it one more time though. According to Erdogan, Gulen’s activities should be banned all over the world. He called Gulen a terrorist and said that the United States “should not harbor a terrorist”.
Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish cleric. He is a former ally of Erdogan’s who can receive some of the credit for AKP’s initial success. Turkish officials say that he has spent decades building a network of supporters in Turkey. His supporters are from all walks of life, including the armed forces and the civil service. They say that his ultimate goal is to take over the country. High-ranking officials in the Turkish government have blamed Gulen for the attempted coup in July. They have said that he was the one who orchestrated it from far away.
Gulen has lived in what we can call self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. He lives in Pennsylvania and from there he coordinates the network of international organizations that have his name in the title. Despite Turkey insisting that he was the mastermind behind the coup in July, Gulen has denied any involvement. He said it right after the failed coup and continues to do so that he did not have any part of it.
The Turkish Government Wants Gulen Extradited
Turkey insisted diplomatically and publicly on the extradition of Fethullah Gulen. The answer back from Washington was a calm and measured one. Officials said that the US will extradite Gulen only after and only if the Turkish government provides evidence to support their claims. Meaning that it can’t be just a matter of opinion who planned the coup. Evidence is necessary to prove the allegations against Gulen. And in the absence of such evidence, the US is not going to extradite him.
Washington’s answer only frustrated the Turkish government. But Washington had taken a calm approach to the situation in Turkey from the very beginning. Given the situation in the region, regarding Syria, the United States was careful not to take any sides. And to generally be on the side of rule of law.
During the interview, Erdogan said that the United States have “no excuse” to keep Gulen. He said that if the US is indeed Turkey’s strategic ally, they would not let Gulen run the organization that he has built. Erdogan also mentioned that the United States and Turkey are parteners in NATO in an effort to political pressure on the situation.
Regarding the situation in Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan said that they could extend the state of emergency if the Turkish government finds it necessary. After the coup in July, a state of emergency was instated fro three months. Those three months are almost up, which would see Turkey returning to normal.
Image source: Wikipedia