Turkish Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Dissident Under “Terrorism” Accusations

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Flag of TurkeyWe recently reported HERE arrests made around Turkey of journalists, police, and opposition critical of President Erdogan. Now, an arrest warrant has been issued against Cleric Fethulla Gülen who is presently residing in the United States as an exile.

The Turkish government accuses Gülen of orchestrating a terrorist plot to seize power in Turkey. He has been an outspoken critic of the president and that certainly appears to be a motivator in another campaign to eradicate political opponents of the leadership of our NATO ally.

The court ruled that there was “significant tangible evidence” to charge Gülen. Prosecutors accuse of him of a campaign to arm a terror group; a charge carrying a potential fifteen year prison sentence.

Fethullah Gülen
Fethullah Gülen

The charges to an outsider certainly appear dubious and of a political nature. The government will likely however seek extradition from the United States. That will certainly prove to be a contentious request.

Turkey and the United States are currently negotiating an agreement with regard to the Islamic State menace that has come to Turkey’s southern border. The former has shown resistance to engaging in the ground expedition due to numerous issues such as the nation’s struggle against a Kurdish insurgency in the East who’s people are presently engaged in open warfare against the IS. The US is both seeking a partner against IS but has considerable issue with Erdogan’s clampdown on dissent and the erosion of certain civil rights of its citizens.

The accusations of terrorism surely are made to address the limitations on political prosecutions contained within the Extradition Treaty between the United States and Turkey which reads in pertinent part:



(1) Extradition shall not be granted:

(a) If the offense for which extradition is requested is regarded by the Requested Party to be of a political character or an offense connected with such an offense; or if the Requested Party concludes that the request for extradition has, in fact, been made to prosecute or punish the person sought for an offense of a political character or on account of his political opinions.

That certainly could negate efforts to extradite Gülen, provided that the United States chooses to declare the charge as political in nature, especially in light of the diplomatic situation on the ground. Another clause in the treaty might add a measure of questionability:

Subsection (a) continues:

However, any offense committed or attempted against a Head of State or a Head of Government or against a member of their families shall not be deemed to be an offense of a political character.

This could, in fact, provide Turkey with a means to argue for extradition in declaring and showing evidence that Gülen ordered attacks against Erdogan by means of a terrorist campaign.

Evidentiary issues likely will play a major factor in determining whether this is or is not a political issue and the Turkish state is going to have the burden of proving such during any extradition hearing that might occur.

Regardless of the possibility of a successful extradition, the erosion of the Erdogan government’s goodwill continues within the international community. It shows also that dissent is becoming more formidable a problem whenever a government embarks on a course such as this.

By Darren Smith


Deutsche Welle
Turkey International Extradition Treaty With The United States (PDF)

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8 thoughts on “Turkish Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Dissident Under “Terrorism” Accusations”

  1. I truly believe Obama enjoys a juxtaposition between these nations just as he enjoys disassembling the constitution until the stress becomes unbearable and something begins to crumble. He enjoys or seems to enjoy the process and then pretends ignorance with his speeches “Let me be perfectly clear in my transparent administration……”

  2. How to categorize Turkey? First, it is East of Corfu and the Ten Commandments Don’t Apply. Second, it is a civilized nation state which does not respect human rights and is indeed a human rights abuser. Third, it belongs to NATO and it should be kicked out of NATO. It is clearly not bordered on the North Atlantic ocean and an ocean or so away from Great Britain or the United States. Fourth, it was formerly called the Ottoman Empire. A guy (male) named Otto ruled that with an iron fist.
    Based on the above: do not travel there as a tourist or do business with any Turk company. Do not travel any closer by sea than the Turks & Caicos. Fly over if you must but flush twice. Thrice on Sunday. No cover charge anytime.

  3. This piece ties in w/ the prior. One of the reasons our feckless prez won’t arm the Kurds is because Turkey opposes it. It is obvious to all except Obama, Turkey who was once a normal Muslim country, has gone over to the dark side. Time to cut them loose. The fable during the 2008 campaign was Obama was a good poker player. That was obviously a lie. His bluffs are easy to tell and he doesn’t know when to fold.

    1. Nick – you know how good a poker player Obama was when he blurted “Don’t call my bluff!” He plays poker about as well as he plays basketball and golf.

  4. I suggest that we honor their extradition request and include those involved in our EIT/torture program in the deal.

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