Is FETO worth sacrificing Turkish-American relations?
Everyone in Turkey has known since the treacherous attempted coup of July 15, that the name behind the coup is the Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO). Everyone knows, but, unfortunately, very few individuals or organizations in the United States of America believe it.
To this date, Turkey has submitted 4 files to the US State Department, requesting the deportation of the FETO leader. The State Department continues to insist that it has shared the requests with the Justice Department and that investigations are continuing. As the time gets longer, Turks are becoming impatient. Of course, as patience grows thin, anti-American sentiment is beginning to increase at an alarming rate.
Regarding Turkey's rightful suit, the White House, State Department, Congress and Senate all agree, saying, "We are against a coup, but we need to see better evidences. They are now starting to say that there is insufficient evidence in the witness testimonies and hundreds of documents that Turkey has provided.
Co-Chairmen of the US Congress Turkish Caucus Group Ed Whitfield, Steve Cohen, Virginia Foxx and Gerry Connolly, recently signed a statement condemning the coup, but indicating they were very concerned by the subsequent harsh measures that have been adopted in Turkey. Actually, the statement wasn't seen by many people. It didn't receive much attention since it didn't mention a word about FETO and consisted of criticism and complaints about President Erdogan
Members of the Congress are still not aware of the serious nature of this matter. If the United States Administration and all the officials in its departments do not understand the gravity of this issue, and remain unaware, Turkish-American relations will suffer the beginnings of a serious crisis, it is possible that Turkey's Washington Ambassador may be recalled from Ankara in the near future.
According to an inside source, there are many representatives who say they understand Turkey's request for extradition, but that it will have to wait out of respect for due legal process. Apart from this, The US Ambassador in Ankara, John Bass, issued strong statements saying that United States does not wish to damage relations with Turkey and emphasizing that rumors that the USA was behind the treacherous coup attempt are lies.
Unfortunately, Some of the Turkish media and Their affiliations, are broadcasting sensational news reports, saying that the USA is behind of the coup. Airing these views is very wrong. Likewise, a report in a recent newspaper, stating that the US Ambassador had met with a Representative of the Turkish military before the coup is completely false, and the accompanying photograph was photoshopped.
This sort of imaginary news about the event only serves to increase tensions.
As I said earlier, if US does not take Turkey's request seriously, and drags its feet too long, these types of speculation and hatred will increase even more.
So that is why I say it is extremely important for everyone keep the channels of communication open.
Last week, after Chief of Staff Dunford's visit to Ankara, subsequent to the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee's meetings in NY and DC, the August 24 visit to Turkey by Vice President is being seen as an attempt to mend ties between the two countries.
Tensions between the allies are benefiting terrorist organizations such as ISIL and Al Qaeda and creating significant hardship in the region. We all are aware that Turkey and the USA need to step up cooperative efforts to ensure the stability of the region.
With so much distress and disquietude in the world, and the revelation that the perpetrators of the treacherous coup attempt have ties to Gulen, I never would have thought that the United States of America would be willing to sacrifice Turkish-American relations for one terrorist leader, I don't want to think it.
The strong friendship of Turkish-American relations is extremely important, not only for the two countries, but for the entire world.
Let us not allow our enemies to rejoice!
Executive Vice President, Turkish Heritage Organization