I know Allahpundit wrote a comprehensive piece about this yesterday, but I’ve been covering the Gulen/Erdogan/Trump story for a couple of years now and couldn’t let thisreport slide by. As was mentioned in the linked article, some reliable reporting indicates that the Trump administration has been quietly looking into the possibility of shipping Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen out of the United States to Turkey in what obviously seems like an effort to placate their tyrant, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (NBC News)
The White House is looking for ways to remove an enemy of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to two senior U.S. officials and two other people briefed on the requests.
Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said.
The effort includes directives to the Justice Department and FBI that officials reopen Turkey’s case for his extradition, as well as a request to the Homeland Security Department for information about his legal status, the four people said.
Is Gulen one of the good guys or the bad guys? I have no idea, but that’s seriously not the point here. The cleric has been granted permanent resident alien status and now resides in Pennsylvania. As such, he’s “our problem” now and is entitled to a fair shake. And if we either extradite him or (even worse) just pull some sort of black bag operation, kidnap him and ship him to Turkey, he’s going to be murdered. Oh, Erdogan might make a point of putting on a show trial and holding him in prison so they can torture him for a while first, but they’ll kill him in the end.
I realize some of you might be saying, what about Pastor Andrew Brunson? Erdogan released him so doesn’t that buy him some goodwill? Yes. To a certain extent, we might consider some supportive moves for the nation of Turkey in exchange for the hostage they gave up, despite what a monster Erdogan has proven to be. The world is a messy place and we have to deal with a lot of monsters on a regular basis But certainly nothing to this extent. I’m also still aware of the important position Turkey holds in the geopolitical sphere. That makes us swallow a lot more bile than we would probably like in some matters. But surely there comes a point where we reach the proverbial bridge too far.
I’m not saying that extradition is off the table even if that’s the case, but we have to follow the law here. Is Gulen guilty of orchestrating the failed coup in the summer of 2016? We have no way of knowing yet, but clearly, there hasn’t been enough evidence presented to make that case. If there were he would already be gone. And absent that sort of evidence, we would be just as culpable as Erdogan and might as well have just slit his throat ourselves.
The fact that the White House is even looking into this question is ill-conceived unless they have some new evidence of high crimes he has committed in Turkey which have not yet been revealed. And if this plan is on the table, the White House should put that evidence out before the public and try to make their case, even if it sours some of our international relations. As AP pointed out yesterday, this is a lose-lose deal for us anyway, in terms of our relations with both Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But if there is no such evidence to be shown, any plan to ship Gulen to Turkey would be a national disgrace.