Clinton speaks like a political apprentice: Erdoğan
AA photoHillary Clinton must be a political novice for suggesting that she would arm Syrian Kurdish groups in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if she is elected president next month, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
“This is a very unfortunate statement,” Erdoğan said. “I regard this as political inexperience.”
Democrat nominee Clinton suggested that she would arm Kurds in Syria and Iraq if she beats Donald Trump for the White House on Nov. 8.
Emphasizing that this region had different sensitivities and that providing weapons to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) would be a very wrong move, he said: “Aren’t you aware that you caused the death of 600,000 people through the weapons you provided? Where is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Where is law? Where is the importance of human life?”
At the same time, Erdoğan also said Turkey would not immediately hand over suspects demanded by the United States but would instead proceed to dispatch them to the Turkish judiciary until Washington extradites the Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
“When they ask for terrorists from us, we hand them over. But look, they do not hand over such terrorists to us. Why not? They talk about the judiciary and say they cannot hand him back without a court decision. OK. Let’s see what happens. The same thing could happen here,” Erdoğan said in a speech to judges and prosecutors in Ankara.
“When [the U.S.] wants someone from us, we will hand them to [Turkish judges]. We will not decide until [Turkish judges] decide. That’s how it will be from now on,” he added.
Erdoğan’s statement constituted yet another salvo from Ankara at Washington on Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt that killed 241 people and wounded more than 2,000. Turkey officially requested Gülen’s extradition from the U.S. after designating the Gülenist group as a terror network.
“Look, it’s been 17 years and this person still lives there. We have sent [the U.S.] 85 boxes of documents and we are still sending them,” Erdoğan said, recalling that Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ would go to Washington to meet his counterpart at the end of the month.
‘The UK extradites people, why don’t you?’
Every country needs to take into consideration the fact that Turkey’s National Security Council (MGK) has designated the Gülen network as a terrorist organization, Erdoğan said.
“The U.K. does this, so why don’t you? You should do it, too. There were some persons we have demanded from the U.K. and they gave them to us. Likewise, some other countries did the same. We have an agreement with the U.S. on extradition. It should move accordingly but it has not, so far. This is a serious political problem,” he said.
The Gülenist movement has become a tool for foreign powers, Erdoğan said. “There is a very sneaky game. We have to be careful. If this process [of extradition] is delayed, there will be some very sensitive things that we would speak about.”
The president also recalled that the U.S. handed over Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in 1999, the same year Gülen fled to the U.S. “What did they do? They handed over the separatist terror leader, and instead of him they took the leader of another terror gang,” he said.