August 1, 2016

How Erdogan blackmailed the U.S. over Islamic State

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is blackmailing the United States by threatening to withdraw his country’s support for the international coalition against the Islamic State, on grounds that the US did not honour his request to extradite the Islamic Cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Membership at the coalition is numbering over 60 countries including Turkey and Nigeria, working closely together to ensure that the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and the Boko Haram terrorists groups are brought to their knees.

Recently, Foreign ministers from 60 countries pledged to intensify the struggle against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq through various means, including military operations and measures to cut the flow of foreign jihadists and financing.

Coalition partners reaffirmed their commitment to work together under a multifaceted and long-term strategy to degrade and defeat ISIS,” the participating ministers unanimously agreed to make quick briefings available to all Presidents of member countries for quick response.

The Islamic Scholar Fethulah Gulen had revealed in an interview recently that he condemned in very strong terms the attempted military takeover in Turkey, he said a change of government should be done through a democratic process of a free and fair election and prayed that the current uprising in Turkey be resolved peacefully and quickly too.

He said despite his unequivocal protest, similar to statements issued by all three of the major opposition parties, Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian president, immediately accused him of orchestrating the putsch. He demanded that the United States commences the process of his extradition from his home in Pennsylvania, where he had lived in voluntary exile since 1999.

Gulen has described the action of Mr. President as irresponsible to the fact that the opposition parties of any given democracy in the World cannot be termed enemies of the states but watch dogs ready to criticize constructively an administration seen to be derailing from the norms of democracy.

‘My philosophy — inclusive and pluralist Islam, dedicated to service to human beings from every faith — is antithetical to armed rebellion. For more than 40 years, the participants in the movement that I am associated with — called Hizmet, the Turkish word for “service” — have advocated for, and demonstrated their commitment to, a form of government that derives its legitimacy from the will of the people and that respects the rights of all citizens regardless of their religious views, political affiliations or ethnic origins. Entrepreneurs and volunteers inspired by Hizmet’s values have invested in modern education and community service in more than 150 countries, he stressed’.

According to him, at a time when Western democracies are searching for moderate Muslim voices, the Hizmet movement has taken a clear stance against violent extremism, from the Sept. 11 attacks by Al Qaeda to brutal executions by the Islamic State to the kidnappings by Boko Haram terrorists.

The Hizmet movement has continuously demonstrated commitment to prevent terrorists’ recruitment from among Muslim youth and nurturing a peaceful, pluralist mind-set for sustainable peace and development of the state and regions.

Like many Turkish citizens, the Hizmet movement’s participants supported Mr. Erdogan’s early efforts to democratize Turkey and fulfill the requirements for membership in the European Union. Surprisingly the President turned from democracy to despotism. Even before these new purges, Mr. Erdogan in recent years has arbitrarily closed privately owned newspapers and broadcast organizations in Turkey; removed thousands of judges, prosecutors, police officers and civil servants from their positions; and taken especially harsh measures against Kurdish communities.

However, his new stance is to commence urgent withdrawal of the financial and military support of Turkey as a member state of the International Coalition against the Islamic State, the threats which he recently issued to the United States government.

Published on Today, 31 July 2016, Sunday