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July 30, 2016



Thank you for your comments


I'd be very reluctant to turn anybody over to Erdogan at present. However, I wouldn't mind seeing Gulen tried in an American court for immigration fraud and education embezzlement.


The crux of the problem is as Mr. Rodrik states "It is very unlikely that Gulen would receive a fair trial in Turkey". Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag is reported today in one of Turkey's leading newspapers, Hurriyet, to have made the asinine statement that the U.S. knows Fetullah Gulen was behind the coup attempt and that "there is no need for evidence to prove this" (ABD'nin, darbe girişiminin arkasında Fetullah Gülen'in olduğunu bildiğini ve bunun ispat için de delile hacet olmadığını anlatan Adalet Bakanı Bozdağ ..." http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gulen-baska-bir-ulkeye-kacabilir-40177431

Nonetheless, as the person believed to be responsible for setting in motion a chain of events which have led to the deaths of hundreds of Turkish citizens, Gulen must be tried. Perhaps before an international tribunal with the consent of both the U.S. and Turkey. Failure of the U.S. to allow Gulen to be brought to trial outside of the United States in an impartial venue would clearly suggest that it is afraid of Gulen spilling the beans on his possible shady dealings with the intelligence community.


Two points:

1.If it is "farfetched" for the US to be involved in the coup because there were "too many risks and too few benefits", that argument also applies to Gulen and the coup, assuming that the commentators that called it hasty and amateurish are correct.

2. Assuming General Akar is credible (and I have no reason to believe one way or the other, so sure) his testimony is still hearsay. We can be reasonably confident that a coup plotter offered to put him in touch with Gulen, our confidence in such a coup plotter actually having contact with Gulen, let alone blessing and support, should be considerably less.


Great article. Only overlooked point is Gulen's role in anti-communist organizations, especially during turbulent years that led to the coup of 1980. Such organizations were no doubt supported by the US intelligence, and I believe it would not be farfetched to claim Gulen and certain intelligence officers had an affinity reaching back to those times.


U.S. has a legitimate ground for not extraditing an accomplice to be tried by his accomplice!


By the way, retired CIA insider Graham Fuller may have also helped the Tsarnaev family who bombed the Boston Marathon get asylum in the U.S. Weird but true: Fuller used to be the father-in-law of the Tsarnaev Brothers' Uncle Ruslan.

America needs a National Immigration Safety Board, modeled on the National Transportation Safety Board, to investigate immigration disasters and report on reforms that need to be undertaken to lessen the chances of them happening again.

Since the Gulen Cult has likely skimmed something approaching a billion dollars of taxpayer money on its charter school operations, Imam Gulen would be a good case to start with.

It might be prudent to put Fuller under oath and find out who else he has helped obtain asylum besides Gulen and the Tsarnaevs ...


Perhaps Gulen is an old Operation Gladio asset that the CIA (or whomever) felt they were in debt to?

But if so, why can't these kind of people find exile in Panama or the Cayman Islands or somewhere like that instead of in my USA?

Look at the case of the Chechen cage fighter Ibrahim Todashev who was gunned down by an FBI agent while he was purportedly writing his confession of helping Tamerlan Tsarnaev ritually murder three American weed dealers in Waltham, MA on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Young Todashev was granted asylum in the U.S. even though his dad is a high official Russia, about 3 levels down the org chart from Ramzan Kadyrov and thus only 4 levels below Putin.

Does that strike anybody else as weird?

the i-dealist

Thoughtful and helpful piece.

It seems that there is a growing consensus in Turkey now that the US was behind the coup.

But I can personally see no US or Western benefit whatsoever to destabilising Turkey and its armed forces at this time. So something else must have been going on.

I'd assume that Gulenist forces took the step (mostly) alone and precipitated by fear. Of a purge? Or Erdogan turning North and East? Of shifting dynamics with the PKK?

Timing is everything. So why now?


Again, as you readily admit, this post is based entirely on speculation.

And in what sense is Graham's Huffington Post article downright silly? It struck me as rather reasonable, although I can't claim to be an expert on Turkish political intrigue.


Mr. Rodrik,

I appreciate that you have many other topics to address at this point... However, the Sibel Edmonds story has long struck me as important and badly under-reported. She alleges all manner of illicit relationships between the U.S., Turkey, Israel, etc. Any comments you might offer would be welcome.

Joe McGuire

How convenient for General Akar that a putschist offers him direct contact with Gulen. "Hey, you can call him on my iPhone!" Doesn't every soldier have a direct line to the commanding general?

With political opponents, judges, journalists and the military being purged and jailed, Turkey was not looking much like a democracy, much less the rule of law. And that was before the alleged putsch.


Prof. Rodrik (and his Wife) were meticulously price throughout the infamous Sledgehammer trial that lasted for so many years; they wrote two books and ran a excellent website called balyozvegercekler (mostly in turkish; partially english).
Their magnificient struggle to uncover the truth will go into history; I think it should taught at universities as a case study.
I see now he keeps his objective stance further even though everybody knows Sledgehammer and other similar fake trials were carried out by the Gulenists. It is only fair to ask However: who prepared the lists of officiers (mostly from Navy), journalist, rectors to be targeted? These officiers were accused of planning a coup and most of them were from the Navy, so far away from Ankara! Could it be that Gulen hated the Navy most?


Excellent article. I join pschaeffer in recommending Sibel Edmond's reporting about the current Turkey events. She predicted the current coup attempt in Nov/Dec 2015.

Edmonds explains why highly-placed lawmakers and officials in the USA and elsewhere will protect Gulen (and D. Hastert). The web of corruption, blackmail, pedophilia, extortion, drug-running, espionage and other criminal activities is so widespread (and widely known by FBI, CIA, DoJ, foreign agencies, and criminal networks), and would bring down so many high-profile people including members of Congress and Executive branch from both parties, that no one in government wants to have these things exposed in trial.

So it is that people committing horrendous crimes are protected, or at most get a plea bargain. (For example, former Speaker of the House Hastert was prosecuted only for relatively minor financial wrongdoing. Not a single person mentioned the pedophilia or espionage though these activities were well known by all the US law and intelligence agencies who had monitored him for years.) Media won't touch it; they can't afford to alienate powerful people.

When one sees the unsavory underbelly--and it is beyond disgusting--then the ambivalent CIA/Gulen relationship makes more sense. No wonder even the worst criminals are not afraid of being prosecuted. They know powerful people will go to any length to prevent this information from coming into the open in a trial. Gulen made it his business to know lots of secrets about lots of people. It gives him a strong hand when it comes to influencing USA policies and activities at the highest levels, including protecting him from prosecution or extradition.

Edmonds thinks the USA will probably run out the clock by allowing Gulen indefinite appeals until he eventually dies. She also thinks the Turkey coup attempt is not over, and that the Incirlik nukes are already being featured prominently in the media to provide justification for NATO coming in and bringing in regime change. In her view, the Turkish people will be the determining factor.

B Bariman

Why is the stance of opposition MP's being ignored?

The CHP, MHP, and HDP are pretty clear that this was a Gulenist operation. They agree on not much else and have said a lot of harsh things from different angles about Erdogan.

Maybe the nuance anti-Erdogan Westerners should pick up on is that the Gulenists were enabled by Erdogan's 2007-2011 drive to push 'religious'cadres into the state and military.

Erdogan's opposition are honourably recognizing that though Erdogan has been attacked by a monster he created, they certainly cannot gloat and must help him remove the cadres he planted in the first place.

Yes, foreigners can't be expected to be Turkey experts, and there is a democratic 'cache' in questioning Erdogan, but please a little research will help. Gulen did not come along out of Erdogan's imagination.

PRE-ERDOGAN-AKP Turkish authorities and journalists warned for many DECADES before July 15 about Gulenists' multi-pronged strategy: the school network, cheating on university and civil service entrance exams, the loyalty to the leader, the money, the coordinated (though almost farcically zigzagging) editorial positions of their media fronts, and the payments to politicians in the West.

Whether Erdogan is the right person to cure this problem is an open question (he enabled the infiltration!), but I can't see how any Turkish citizen could sleep comfortably how far these cadres had occupied the state apparatus.

Even worse is the shoulder shrugging from our Western 'allies'.


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