Ankara, August 26, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
Both the principles of justice and the U.S.-Turkish alliance demand the extradition of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, said the co-chair of the Turkish-U.S. Interparliamentary Friendship Group on Aug. 26.
“This alliance requires solidarity and responsibility. Extraditing the leader of this terrorist cult to Turkey will prove that the American commitment to this alliance is solid. This is an assurance that Turkey’s society and political class needs to receive,” said Ali Sarıkaya, an Istanbul deputy for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said in a guest op-ed for Middle East Monitor (MEMO), a press monitoring organization.
Sarıkaya added that the U.S. “should understand the 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 FETÖ terror cult,” he wrote, referring to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) believed to be behind the July 15 failed coup attempt.
Saying 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, Sarıkaya added that Turkey expects solidarity and support from its allies, but messages of Western support came only when it was clear that the coup attempt was doomed to failure.
“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,” he said, while noting that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Turkey earlier this week presented “an opportunity to repair and reinvigorate Turkish-American ties.”
“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. 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,” Sarıkaya added.