Deportation of Gülen would be positive if no extradition: PM Yıldırım

Deportation of Gülen would be positive if no extradition: PM Yıldırım

Deportation of Gülen would be positive if no extradition: PM Yıldırım

AFP photo

The Turkish government would consider the deportation of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen from the U.S. as a positive move if there is no direct extradition, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said.

“We want a judgement. But there are also administrative measures to be taken. Our preference is extradition, but we would consider the deportation [to another country] as a positive move,” Yıldırım told reporters on Feb. 22.

He vowed that Ankara remained determined, adding that discussions with U.S. officials on the extradition of Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, were continuing. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) regards the new U.S. administration as “more accommodating and sensitive” on the subject, he added.

Touching on strategic relations with the U.S., Yıldırım said they will continue in Syria and Ankara has “serious coordination with the new administration.”

“The U.S. wants to operate here with the YPG [People’s Protection Units] and the PYD [Democratic Union Party]. We are trying to prevent that and we argue it is not the right thing to do … It means giving power to, strengthening and raising the PKK, so we do not agree with it and we stand in front of it,” he added, referring to links between Syrian Kurdish groups and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“Our stance is clear. If they want to fight against terrorist organizations, they should not do so with another terrorist organization like the PYD,” Yıldırım said.

Turkey strongly objects to Syrian Kurdish fighters’ participation in any operation to liberate Raqqa and it is pressing the U.S. to stop supporting Syrian Kurdish groups that Ankara considers to be “terrorists” because of their links to the PKK. 

Responding to questions on whether close coordination with the U.S. has a negative effect on relations with Russia, Yıldırım said “we can get along with both.”

“Our relations with the U.S. are different from our relations with Russia. They are not alternatives to each other. We can get along with both,” he added.

Yıldırım also stated that Turkey’s plan to launch the Raqqa offensive aims “to dry terror at its source and destroy it.”

Referring to opposition criticism of any future offensive in Raqqa, he said the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) “does not know the profundity of the subject.”

“If you do not have business in Raqqa, they will have business in your own country,” Yıldırım added.

‘We are sensitive about academic dismissals’

Questioned about the dismissal of scores of academics with controversial recent state of emergency decrees, the prime minister said more than 100,000 individuals had been dismissed since the failed July 2016 coup attempt and it was “outside of human capacity” to deal with all cases one by one.

“We are sensitive. But it would be unfair if we were interested in one matter and not another. We are considering the general situation. We take precautions according to the effects of public opinion. We have not found another method,” Yıldırım said. 

Pointing at the commission established to receive appeals against state of emergency operations, Yıldırım called on dismissed academics to seek legal remedies if they are the victims of injustice.

“The commission has no authority to evaluate cases without applications. If nobody seeks their rights, nobody will tell them that their rights were violated. Why haven’t they applied? Why are they making it a matter of pride? They should go and seek their rights,” he said.