by Eric Zuesse, Washington’s Blog:
U.S. President Barack Obama has been resisting the demands of the Turkish government to extradite the person that Turkey alleges was behind the failed July 15th Turkish coup-attempt, and the Turks are now stepping up pressure against Washington by implying that Obama has been lying about Washington’s advance knowledge regarding the coup.
The Turkish government is preparing a formal extradition request to Washington regarding Fethullah Gülen, the exiled Turkish cleric in Pennsylvania, whom the Turkish government alleges was behind the July 15th coup-attempt. The Turks are demanding that when the U.S. government receives it, their extradition request will quickly be complied with.
Gülen runs a global Islamic organization, which the Turkish government alleges carried out the coup-attempt. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said, “The files pertaining to their involvement in this coup attempt have not been sent yet. They will be sent and will leave no doubt whatsoever as to their involvement in this.” So: the Turkish government has, in effect, indicated that they will tolerate no further delay in the extradition of Gülen.
Washington has said that no proof exists that Gülen had anything to do with the coup. The “files” that Turkey is preparing to send, will present Washington with the same evidence that convinces the Turkish government of Gülen’s guilt. Therefore, if Washington disagrees with that, then the longstanding U.S. alliance with Turkey, which has been a NATO member since 1952, would almost certainly end, and Turkey could even leave NATO altogether. Turkey has been an essential part of NATO. So, the stakes in this matter are large.
Considerable evidence has long been available, even in the West, that the Gülen organization is affiliated with the U.S. CIA; and, so, if the Turkish “files” include anything which indicates to Washington that the Turks can publicly “spill the beans” about such Gülen-CIA involvement, Washington will virtually be forced to comply. But complying would mean a fundamental break away from the Turkish-American relationship which has existed since Turkey joined NATO in 1952.
On Friday, July 29th, Reuters quoted Prime Minister Yildirim as responding in the following way to the U.S. government’s admission that key CIA assets in Turkey are now in Turkish prisons, and are being charged with participating in the coup-attempt:
“Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim echoed [President] Erdogan’s feisty tone: ‘This is a confession’.”
This was being said by Yildirim in response to:
“The director of U.S. national intelligence, James Clapper, said on Thursday the purges were harming the fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq by sweeping away Turkish officers who had worked closely with the United States. The head of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, said he believed some of the military figures whom the United States had worked with were in jail.”
The statement by Yildirim, that this constitutes “a confession” by the U.S. government, is a subtle way of warning Washington that, if Obama says no to Turkey’s extradition-request, then Turkey has, and can make public, the evidence that Washington has been lying about this entire matter.
The Reuters report noted further that, “Yildirim also said Turkey would shut down an air base near Ankara which served as a hub for the coup plotters as well as all military barracks used by them.” The Reuters report failed to state that this air base is America’s Incirlik Air Base, but later in the story did note that, “Turkey hosts U.S. troops and warplanes at Incirlik Air Base, from which the United States flies sorties against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.” The connection between that and “an air base near Ankara which served as a hub for the coup plotters as well as all military barracks used by them” wasn’t made there, but the implications of this connection for the U.S.-Turkey-Saudi-Qatari-UAE-Kuwaiti effort to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are significant: That U.S.-Saudi-led invasion of Syria will now have to end. Not only will the Western alliance’s pathway sending jihadists into Syria now be terminated, but also U.S. control of this key NATO air base, Incirlik, will end — unless the Turkish Prime Minister’s statement of Turkish government policy becomes reversed. The only person who could possibly reverse it is Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan — the top man whom the coup had especially targeted to capture and perhaps kill.
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