Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization plans to continue targeting supporters of a top political opponent, Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, around the globe, including in the United States.
The Daily Caller reports Ibrahim Kalin, the top adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Turkey’s “relevant units and institutions will continue their operations in the countries the FETO operates in whether it be the U.S. or some other country.”
FETO is an acronym for the pejorative term Fethullah Terrorist Organization used to describe Gulen, who been living in the U.S. since 1999.
Erdogan has said Gulen must be returned to Turkey because of his opposition to Erdogan.
“Erdogan and the Turkish government have waged a widespread crackdown against Gulen’s network, which is said to number in the millions. Erdogan blames Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania, for the failed July 15, 2016, coup attempt that left more than 250 people dead. Gulen has denied taking part in the coup,” the report said.
Turkey’s campaign already has included kidnapping six Gulen supporters in Kosovo and returning them to Turkey for trial, a move that caused a major international uproar.
Kalin said that type of operation “can be carried out in other countries.”
Already in the U.S., the government in Turkey has hired lobbying firms and lawyers to attack Gulen.
They also continue to demand his extradition to Turkey.
“Our relevant units are working very professionally,” Kalin said. “I cannot share any details but anything can happen anytime, anywhere.”
Erdogan’s critics point out the actions are in violation of international law.
Alp Aslandogan of the Alliance for Shared Values told the Daily Caller, “Any actual efforts should be met swiftly with the full force of the United States government.”
Aydogan Vatandas, a journalist who has been targeted by Erdogan, said Turkey certainly is capable of running operations outside its borders.
“The Turkish Intelligence is capable of carrying out this kind of activities in the U.S. There is no doubt about this,” the report said.
But he said he believes Turkey would stop short of those actions.