Trump, Erdogan, and the fate of Fethullah Gulen
Over the last number of years I have come to know a group of Turkish people, with whom I've worked in a number of areas. They are all affiliated with a movement founded by a Turkish religious leader now living in exile in the United States. That exiled religious leader is named Fethullah Gulen. His movement is known for its many educational and service projects around the world. Gulen was originally an ally of current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but they had as falling out, and Gulen had to flee to the United States. His movement continued to thrive in Turkey until Erdogan decided they were a threat, and he decided to label the movement and its founder terrorists. When a failed coup attempt occurred, Erdogan blamed Gulen and his movement.
I can say that the people I know, most of whom are scientists, engineers, and physicians are anything but terrorists. In fact, I will be sharing a special Thanksgiving dinner with them tomorrow evening (they have even invited me to say the prayer of blessing for the dinner). They are good-hearted people, who are contributing to our nation's life. None of them can return home lest they are arrested. Many have family in prison. Teachers, judges, scientists, were all purged from their jobs.It's a mess, but our government seems unwilling to speak out.
I'm writing today because word comes that the Trump administration is once again looking into extraditing Gulen to Turkey, a move that most likely would lead to Gulen's summary execution. While Trump has had interest in doing this before, to curry favor with Erdogan, it appears that this exchange would be done in order to get Turkey to let up on Saudi Arabia regarding the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal
I decided to speak out today in support of my friends, and to alert any who read this to the possibility of a deal to extradite Gulen. This would be a major miscarriage of justice and would sent a horrific message to the world. The United States is no longer a safe place for political and religious refugees. Please pay attention to the news. Speak out wherever you can. Understand that these are good people. May they not become pawns in this political game to placate two "allies" who are engaging in behavior we should not be condoning.