The United States should not provide a safe haven for the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating the failed July 15 coup attempt, a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump has said.
“The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gülen, who is running a scam. We should not provide him safe haven,” retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn wrote for the Hill newspaper in a piece published on Nov. 8.
“In this crisis, it is imperative that we remember who our real friends are,” added Flynn, who is the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Flynn was a key national security adviser to Trump during his presidential campaign and is expected by many to be appointed to a cabinet position.
“We must begin with understanding that Turkey is vital to U.S. interests. Turkey is really our strongest ally against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS], as well as a source of stability in the region. It provides badly needed cooperation with U.S. military operations,” he added.
Ankara accuses Gülen and his followers of organizing Turkey’s deadly coup attempt of July 15, during which parliament was bombed and soldiers attempted to assassinate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. More than 240 civilians died during the failed attempt after Erdoğan called on citizens to take to the streets to counter the attempt.