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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/12/17

Turkey denies working with Michael Flynn to kidnap Gulen

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Prime Minister Binali Yildirim Saturday (November 11) denied Turkey's involvement in an alleged plot involving former U.S security adviser Michael Flynn to kidnap U.S.-based controversial cleric Fetullah Gulen, allegedly behind last year's coup attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Extraditing Gulen is a major priority for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In an interview with CNN television host Fareed Zakaria, Yildirim said Turkey was expecting the White House to extradite Gulen. However, "we see that there is no signal [through] which extradition will occur," said Yildirim.

When asked if Flynn had given any assurances to Turkey, Yildirim said: "No, we are not dealing with Michael Flynn, we are dealing with the government of United States."

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Michael Flynn and his son's alleged plan to forcibly remove Gulen from the United States and deliver him to Turkey.

Flynn, who is President Trump's former national-security adviser, and his son Michael Flynn Jr. were allegedly were involved in a plan to deliver Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government, which views Gulen as a political enemy and has pressed the U.S. for his extradition, the Journal reported. In exchange, Flynn and Flynn Jr. would be paid as much as $15 million.

Flynn -- who was forced out of his White House job this year after revelations that he had misled officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador -- reportedly discussed the plan with Turkish government representatives last December. The meeting caught the attention of FBI, who have questioned at least four people about it.

The Journal quoted one person who spoke to the FBI as saying that the alleged discussions included transporting Pennsylvania-based Gulen on a private jet to the Turkish prison island Imrali. Turkish officials, according to the Journal, first raised the possibility of removing Gulen from the country by force in an earlier meeting that took place in September.

Flynn had publicly supported Gulen's extradition in an op-ed published on The Hill -- a U.S. political website -- on November 8, the U.S. presidential election day, according to Zakaria.

Yildirim said the Turkish justice minister was in contact with his U.S. counterpart regarding Turkey's extradition request. "They were in communication. They are still in communication to provide some progress on that matter."

He compared the defeated coup attempt in Turkey to the September 11 attacks in New York, adding that Turkey was the first country to offer help and send its army to Afghanistan to fight the U.S. war on terror.

"We didn't ask who was behind this. The United States said this is Al-Qaeda behind of this attack and Al-Qaeda is responsible. Nobody asked the United States is there any evidence that Al-Qaeda did so," he said.

Flynn's top attorney in a statement, on November 10, called the allegations "outrageous" and "false".

Flynn, who only lasted 24 days as Trump's national-security adviser, has been a key figure in Mueller's Russia investigation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused FETO and its leader Gulen plotting the July 15, 2016 attempted coup, which left 250 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.

Turkish-US relations

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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