- Title: Cleric should not be bargaining chip in U.S.-Turkey relations - representative
- Date: 16th May 2017
- Summary: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (MAY 16, 2017) (REUTERS) ALLIANCE FOR SHARED VALUES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALP ASLANDOGAN, TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALLIANCE FOR SHARED VALUES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALP ASLANDOGAN, SAYING: "The United States of course may do many things to improve the relationship with Turkey. I think there is more that President Erdogan and the Turkish government can do to improve the relationship. But with regard to the issue, this is a mostly-legal, only partially political issue. There is a legal process that is specified by the extradition treaty, and we believe that the U.S. government will honor that process." ASLANDOGAN TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALLIANCE FOR SHARED VALUES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALP ASLANDOGAN, SAYING: "For the United States to simply accept Erdogan's demand to appease him would send a very wrong signal to the world. This is a country which respects the rule of law. Mr. Gulen has not violated any laws. Mr. Erdogan's accusations lack a foundation. The Department of Justice have been reviewing the evidence, the so-called evidence sent from Turkey, for months now. If there was real evidence that would stand U.S. court scrutiny, I'm sure they would do something about it." ASLANDOGAN TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALLIANCE FOR SHARED VALUES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALP ASLANDOGAN, SAYING: "After July 15 last year, when President Erdogan immediately accused him of being behind the military coup attempt, Mr. Gulen challenged him. He doesn't believe he will get a fair trial in Turkey. Nobody who observes Turkey believes that. He will not get a fair trial - he will only be sent to his death if he is sent back to Turkey."
- Embargoed: 30th May 2017 21:01
- Keywords: coup FETO Tayyip Erdogan Fethullah Gulen
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C.; NEW YORK, NEW YORK; AND SAYLORSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C.; NEW YORK, NEW YORK; AND SAYLORSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0026H3ANGN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A representative for a cleric self-exiled from Turkey to the United States said on Tuesday (May 16) he should not be used by Turkey or the United States to bolster relations.
On an official visit to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was expected to press U.S. President Donald Trump for the extradition of the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen who Ankara says was behind a failed military coup last July.
Erdogan blames Gulen supporters for a failed coup attempt last July and has conducted a crackdown on them, drawing criticism from Washington. Gulen has denied involvement in the coup and remains in the United States.
Alliance for Shared Values Executive Director Alp Aslandogan said Gulen was in frail health and should not be extradited back to Turkey.
"He doesn't believe he will get a fair trial in Turkey. Nobody who observes Turkey believes that. He will not get a fair trial - he will only be sent to his death if he is sent back to Turkey," Aslandogan said.
Trump, who took office in January, has sought to reach out to Erdogan, and was criticized by some in the United States for congratulating the Turkish president on his contested win in a referendum on constitutional changes that gave him sweeping new powers.
Erdogan said his visit would "mark a historical turn of tide" and hailed "outstanding relations" between the nations. It was an especially positive tone considering the tensions over Washington's decision to arm the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia that Ankara regards as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Erdogan emphasized that Turkey will not accept Syrian Kurdish fighters in the region while stopping short of directly criticizing a U.S. decision to arm them.
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