Former Trump adviser, Turkish officials discussed removal of Gülen from US without extradition: Report
ISTANBULFormer CIA Director James Woolsey has said U.S. President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn discussed removal of the U.S. based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt, from the country with top Turkish officials without going through the extradition process, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 25.
According to the report, Woolsey arrived at a meeting on Sept. 19 in New York with Turkish officials, including Energy Minister Berat Albayrak and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, amid discussions to take Gülen to Turkey without the legal extradition process.
“Mr. Woolsey said the idea was “a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away.” The discussion, he said, didn’t include actual tactics for removing Mr. Gulen from his U.S. home. If specific plans had been discussed, Mr. Woolsey said, he would have spoken up and questioned their legality,” the Journal reported.
“Mr. Woolsey said he didn’t say anything during the discussion, but later cautioned some attendees that trying to remove Mr. Gulen was a bad idea that might violate U.S. law. Mr. Woolsey said he also informed the U.S. government by notifying Vice President Joe Biden through a mutual friend,” it said.
Flynn resigned as national security adviser late on Feb. 13 after revelations that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump took office and misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.
He had been replaced by Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster.
At Washington’s request, Turkey presented evidence to the U.S. demanding the Pennsylvania-based preacher’s extradition. A U.S. delegation visited Turkey at the end of August 2016 and reviewed those documents while Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ also went to the U.S. to discuss the issue in October 2016.