Rohrabacher: U.S. Should Reject Return of Erdogan’s Foe
WASHINGTON – Concerning the demand by Turkish president Racep Tayyip Erdogan that the U.S. Government return Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen to his custody, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, released the following statement:
President Erdogan, who has long played a double game with us in the war on Islamist terrorism, is obviously using a failed coup attempt to launch a far-reaching purge of his opponents, who happen to be the strongest element in his society opposing radical Islamist terrorism. Nowhere is that more evident than his demand that Fethullah Gulen, now living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, be extradited to Turkey.
Nothing in Gulen’s record suggests he would plot a military coup. His theological orientation, stemming from pacifistic Sufism, strongly suggests he would not be part of a violent coup. Erdogan, however, has been purging the peaceful and enterprising followers of Gulen for several years – all the while destroying freedom of the press and smothering democratic opposition to his regime.
Secretary of State John Kerry has responded to the demand by saying he will consider such evidence against Gulen as Erdogan can provide. However, we should recognize that Erdogan’s fixation on Gulen exemplifies the paranoia of those who try to establish dictatorial regimes. The last thing we should be doing is giving credence to his demand for the extradition of this peaceful Muslim leader or give any encouragement to his heavy-handed consolidation of power in Turkey.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
Forty-eighth District, California