President Trump has apparently told Turkish despot Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he’s “working on” extraditing Fethullah Gulen. We expect that’s merely Trump’s version of a diplomatic “sorry, no,” because extradition would be a pathetically weak move.
Yes, Washington can use Ankara’s help on lots of issues, but the reverse is even more true.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was actually complaining about Trump on Sunday, noting that though the president gave Erdogan those vague assurances a couple of weeks ago, “we need to see concrete steps because it has been already two years, almost three years.”
That’s two-plus years since Erdogan, with zero evidence, blamed Gulen for plotting the July 2016 coup attempt and demanded Washington hand him over. But Turkey was pushing for his return long before that, because Erdogan sees him as a threat.
The two men were once Islamist best buds, but fell out long before Erdogan rose to near-absolute power in Ankara. Gulen, who’s been living in the United States on a green card since the 1990s, has a following in both nations — though the ones back home must now lay low for fear of death.
There’s certainly no sign he’s leading a network of “terrorists,” except that Erdogan uses the term for any opponent of his regime.
In all, the cleric has done nothing to merit expulsion, let alone extradition to a government that’s sure to give him a fast show trial followed by execution.
For all Erdogan’s bluster over the Saudi murder of regime critic Jamal Khashoggi, he wants nothing more than to do the same thing — without the bad press.
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