US Ambassador Ricciardone says Gülen-gov’t rift ‘a family matter’
AA PhotoThe rift between Turkey’s government and the movement of Fethullah Gülen is a “family matter,” U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis J. Ricciardone has said, responding to questions as to whether Washington was considering deporting the U.S.-based Islamic scholar after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s appeal.
“It is a family discussion. We are a friend of your family, you are a good family, and we do not want to get involved in your family fight. I hope it will be resolved in a satisfactory manner,” said Ricciardone following a meeting with Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek in Ankara on May 30.
Erdoğan had requested Gülen’s extradition from Washington during an interview with U.S. anchor Charlie Rose last month, adding that a process would be started in Turkey to seek his return.
Gülen, who lives in a self-exile in Pennsylvania, has been accused by the government of orchestrating damaging corruption probes targeting officials and businessman close to Erdoğan.
YouTube ruling ‘important’
Ricciardone also praised a Turkish Constitutional ruling May 29 stating that the ban on YouTube was a violation of freedom of speech.
“We support any actions that strengthen the citizens’ freedoms, and so we welcome the Constitutional Court’s decision on YouTube,” Ricciardone said.
The ambassador also expressed his confidence regarding Turkish democracy ahead of the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for August.