Turkey, Flynn rule out ‘plan to abduct Gülen'
Both Turkish authorities and former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn have denied allegations that unlawful methods were planned to be used for the extradition of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, widely believed to have been behind the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt.
The Turkish Embassy in Washington on Nov. 11 rejected the claims as “ludicrous and groundless.”
“All allegations that Turkey would resort to means external to the rule of law for Gülen’s extradition are utterly false, ludicrous and groundless,” a statement released by the embassy said.
“The fact that Fethullah Gülen, who is the mastermind behind all these crimes, continues to find refuge in the United States remains perplexing and deeply frustrating for the Turkish people,” it said.
The statement added that the Turkish government and its people want the immediate extradition of Gülen from the U.S. to Turkey so he can stand trial.
The statement came after a story in the Wall Street Journal claimed investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the Russia investigation discovered that Flynn met with Turkish representatives twice last year.
According to the story, the latest meeting with Turkish officials took place last December, where Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. were offered $15 million to kidnap Gülen from his multimillion-dollar complex in Pennsylvania.
Describing the allegations as “outrageous” and “false,” Robert Kelner, Flynn’s top attorney, on Nov. 10 also condemned the media report.
As a rule, they said, they do not comment on news reports involving their client.
“But today’s news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn, ranging from kidnapping to bribery, that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we are making an exception to our usual rule: they are false,” he said.
Another name to refute the allegations was Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, who said that the claims were “fabricated.”
In its story, the Wall Street Journal claimed Alptekin organized a meeting between Flynn and Turkish representatives in 2016.
“Turkey and the possible bilateral relations with the U.S. - and nothing illegal - were discussed in the meeting,” Alptekin, who is the chairman of the Turkey-U.S. Business Council, told state-run Anadolu Agency.
“The only purpose of leveling these fabricated allegations is to damage Turkey’s reputation. I regret seeing some respected media outlets crediting these lies,” he also said, adding that “no doubt, the truth will come out and embarrass those who promoted these lies.”
Gülen’s extradition is one of the several disagreements between Turkey and the United States.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said he raised the issue with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during talks in Washington last week, but said that the extradition request was being handled by the two countries’ justice ministries.