In a recent opinion editorial in The Hill, former Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) discusses his dismay at having seen the US-Turkey partnership languish in recent years, and his hope for a new turn in bilateral relations. Given the risk posed by Fethullah Gülen and FETÖ, especially, Washington’s support will be crucial in upholding the democratic infrastructure of one of our key allies:
Since that fateful day [July 15], the U.S. has taken no steps or actions toward Gulen’s extradition. Nothing has been done despite Turkey’s ongoing official requests, the Turkish Justice Ministry sending various files and evidence of Gulen’s crimes, and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag visit to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. Attorney General Lynch in efforts to expedite Gulen’s extradition last October.
So why should the United States and its citizens be concerned? We should be concerned because Turkey is one of America’s most important NATO allies. Turkish-U.S. relations are critical to regional security and the management of regional crises. The violent conflicts in Syria and Iraq, recently spilling past Turkey’s borders, are significant issues of international security. Moreover, the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have added additional complexity, as more regional instability – and uncertainty – presents itself. In addition to these dynamics, Russia’s influence in the region continues to expand.
t’s for these reasons that the United States and Turkey must find a solution to address the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) problem that is present. Fethullah Gulen and FETO have a track record of trying to destabilize Turkey and attack its citizens by any means necessary – simply to spread its roots through the country’s systems and ultimately take control. Unless Gulen is extradited, FETO will continue to pose a real threat for Turkey, its allies, and therefore the United States.