Who is Fethullah Gulen? And why is the US talking about extraditing him to Turkey?

Source:RNS Religious News Date:05Jan2019

Even though US administration would not officially confirm it, an American delegation is in Turkey to investigate whether controversial Pastor Fethullah Gulen (Sunni) has been involved in the aborted 2016 coup attempt, as ruled by several Turkish courts. Turkey has made his extradition and the shuttering of his shadowy network of schools, NGOs and commercial firms in  US and across the world the cornerstone of its foreign policy since the coup.


This article sums up the views on whether Gulen can be extradited, which in my view is not practical.  However, US and EU dropping   barely-concealed suspicion that actually President Erdogan orchestrated the coup and  agree to monitor the subversive activities of the Gulen network, a major roadblock to improvement in Turkey-West relations will be eliminated. In this sense, Trump’s attention to the dossier and the American visit are very important.


Having analyzed Turkish politics for 30 years, I can attest to the nefarious goals and pernicious influence of the Gulen network on the Turkish society sand institutions, while stressing that I could find no direct evidence that Erdogan did partake in the planning for the coup, or even knew about it beforehand.



While Turkey’s brutal crack-down of presumed Gulenists is clearly a witch hunt to purge dissidents of all stripes, this should not disguise the fact that Gulen and some of his followers pose a major threat to the stability of Turkish  society and politics.