Both justice and the U.S.-Turkish alliance require the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, said the co-chair of the Turkish-U.S. Interparliamentary Friendship Group on Friday, according to Anadolu Agency.
Ankara has said Gulen is the mastermind behind the defeated July 15 coup that martyred 240 people and injured around 2,200 others.
“This alliance requires solidarity and responsibility. Extraditing the leader of this terror cult to Turkey will prove that the American commitment to this alliance is a bedrock: this is an assurance that Turkey’s society and political class at large needs to receive,” Ali Sarikaya, an Istanbul deputy for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, said in a guest op-ed for Middle East Monitor (MEMO), a press monitoring organization
Sarikaya said America should understand Turkish people’s trauma after the bloody coup attempt.
“Our American friends should understand what we have been through and what kind of a terrorist group we are facing. The Turkish parliament, presidential complex, intelligence headquarters, and the headquarters of the Special Forces were bombed by this FETO terror cult. ”
He said the bravery and resilience of the Turkish people defeated the coup attempt, which aimed to destroy Turkey’s democracy, the principle of secularism, and the vibrancy of Turkish society.
Sarikaya said Turkey expects solidarity and support from its allies but that messages of Western support came only when it was clear the coup attempt was doomed to failure.
“Given the fact that it has been over a month since the failed coup and Turkey still hasn’t received any heads of state doesn’t help the cause of our alliance or the social ownership of our relationship.”
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Turkey this week nevertheless presented opportunities to repair and reinvigorate Turkish-American ties, he added.
“This extradition case has become the most serious issue in our relations. We shall not let the leader of a terror cult hold the future of our relations hostage. ”
He said that Turkey has long been a major NATO member and a strategic ally of the United States.
Sarikaya said Turkey never abandoned its responsibilities, saying: “In the 1990s and early 2000s, the nature of terrorist threats became more severe and terrorism came to dominate the international agenda, but Turkey stood firm with its allies.”
Turkey showed solidarity with the U.S. after the 2001 terrorist attacks, and throughout the Cold War Turkey contributed to the West’s security and prosperity by acting as a solid bulwark against Communism.
“As the chairman of the Turkish-American Friendship Society in the Turkish parliament, I can assure you that we are committed to this alliance. But our commitment is neither uncritical nor unconditional.”
On Thursday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that Gulen’s extradition “is not something that’s going to be resolved overnight,” stressing the importance of the legal process.
Visiting Ankara on Wednesday, Vice President Biden said “God willing” there would be enough evidence to extradite Gulen, and that he wished the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) leader was in another country.
Turkish officials have submitted a formal request for the extradition of Gulen, who is also accused of leading a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Turkey’s government has said the defeated coup, which left 240 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured, was organized by followers of Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, and his FETO network.