Turkey worried dissident blamed in coup could seek refuge in Canada
Will Trump administration seek closer ties with Erdogan by handing over Fethullah Gulen?
A senior Turkish politician attending the Halifax International Security Forum says Donald Trump's election could spell trouble for relations with Canada if a U.S.-based Muslim dissident his country wants extradited seeks refuge north of the border.
There's been speculation in the American media that the new administration's friendly attitude towards the Tayyip Erdogan regime could lead the U.S. to extradite Fethullah Gulen to his native Turkey before the cleric can seek asylum in Canada or another country.
- Who is Fethullah Gulen, the man Erdogan blames for coup attempt in Turkey?
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Omer Celik, the minister in charge of Turkey's negotiations with the European Union, said granting Gulen refugee status would be akin to providing a safe haven to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Retired Lt.-Gen. Michael Flynn, tapped by Trump as his national security adviser, penned an op-ed for Washington-based newspaper The Hill on Nov. 8 saying that allowing Gulen to remain in the United States would be like harbouring "Turkey's equivalent of Osama bin Laden."
Aided by a translator, Celik said Flynn's assessment of Gulen was "100 per cent right."
Turkish officials have implicated Gulen as the mastermind behind a failed coup that led to 270 deaths in July — an accusation the self-exiled cleric has denied.
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