Writing in The New York Times, Ibrahim Kalin highlights the mounting evidence connecting Fethullah Gülen to Turkey’s attempted coup and warns of the true intentions of the cleric’s transnational movement:
Several thousand military officers and their accomplices in law enforcement and the judiciary have been suspended or arrested for having links to the coup. Their removal from public posts makes the Turkish government stronger and more transparent. At least 1,200 rank-and-file soldiers, who weren’t charged, have already been released from custody. A team of 70 prosecutors is investigating the case. The claim that this was a fake coup is no more credible than the laughable claim that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the United States.
Testimony and evidence obtained from coup plotters point to Fethullah Gulen as the leader of the coup attempt, which was planned and staged by his followers within the army. Levent Turkkan, aide-de-camp to the chief of staff for Turkish armed forces, Gen. Hulusi Akar, confessed to being a member of the Gulenist group after he was arrested, adding that he executed orders from his Gulenist superiors. Generals leading the coup also urged General Akar to speak to Fethullah Gulen, who runs a covert empire from his mansion in rural Pennsylvania, hoping to persuade him to join in their rebellion, according to General Akar.
Since the 1980s, the Gulenists, a religious cult whose members present themselves as peaceful educators, have always had a dark side. They have infiltrated the Turkish judiciary and security forces and manipulated the system to their advantage. They also fabricated evidence, engaged in illegal wiretapping and leaked government documents to smear their opponents.
The United States should extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish citizen, to Turkey, as is allowed under an existing treaty. Turkey has already provided a number of legal documents to American authorities and will send more as further evidence is collected. The United States should not let this man exploit its laws to avoid facing a fair and legitimate accounting in Turkey.