NEW YORK US must re­sist ex­tra­di­tion bid, says Er­do­gan foe

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE reclu­sive cleric ac­cused by Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan of or­ches­trat­ing a failed coup, said the United States should re­sist de­mands for his ex­tra­di­tion from Penn­syl­va­nia.

“Tur­key’s pres­i­dent is black­mail­ing the United States,” Fethul­lah Gulen wrote in an opin­ion piece in The New York Times.

“His goal: to en­sure my ex­tra­di­tion, de­spite a lack of cred­i­ble ev­i­dence and vir­tu­ally no prospect for a fair trial. The temp­ta­tion to give Mr Er­do­gan what­ever he wants is un­der­stand­able but the United States must re­sist it.”

Mr Gulen has lived in Penn­syl­va­nia in vol­un­tary ex­ile since 1999. He is spir­i­tual leader of the Hizmet move­ment, which pro­motes mod­er­ate Is­lam but which Mr Er­do­gan has dubbed a ter­ror­ist group.

The Turk­ish pres­i­dent ac­cused him of or­ches­trat­ing the July 15 aborted coup, in which Ankara said more than 290 peo­ple were killed.

A sub­se­quent crack­down has seen more than 13,000 peo­ple de­tained and tens of thou­sands more sacked from their jobs.

Mr Gulen, who lives on the edge of the Po­conos, de­nies hav­ing any­thing to do with the failed coup.

In the Times, he ac­cused Mr Er­do­gan’s gov­ern­ment of shift­ing to­ward “a dic­ta­tor­ship” that was “po­lar­is­ing the pop­u­la­tion” and “fu­elling the fanatics”.

“The US must not ac­com­mo­date an au­to­crat who is turn­ing a failed putsch into a slow-mo­tion coup of his own against con­sti­tu­tional gov­ern­ment,” Mr Gulen said.

The US gov­ern­ment has asked for firm ev­i­dence in re­ply to Ankara’s re­quest to ex­tra­dite Mr Gulen.

Photo: AFP

Fethul­lah Gulen says he is not re­spon­si­ble for or­ches­trat­ing the July 15 failed coup.

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