A top adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan says that the president has ordered “operations” against his political opponents, even on U.S. soil
The adviser, Ibrahim Kalin, said that the operations could include kidnappings of supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a political opponent of Erdogan
Kalin said that operations will take place, “whether it be the U.S. or some other country”
The Turkish government plans to continue “operations,” including in the United States, against supporters of a political opponent of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a top adviser to the Turkish president said Friday.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Erdogan’s trip this week to the U.N. General Assembly, Ibrahim Kalin said that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, MIT, would continue targeting supporters of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen across the globe.
“Our 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,” said Kalin, using an acronym for the pejorative term Fethullah Terrorist Organization to describe Gulen’s network of followers.
“Rest assured that they will feel Turkey breathing down their neck,” Kalin added.
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 Turkish government’s targeting of Gulen and his supporters has run the gamut. MIT officials kidnapped six Turkish nationals in March in Kosovo and returned them back to Turkey to face trial. The kidnapping caused a major international uproar and showed the lengths that Erdogan would go to hunt down Gulen supporters.
“Operations similar to the one conducted in Kosovo can be carried out in other countries. All should know that Turkey will not allow the FETO to breathe a sigh of relief,” Kalin said Friday, adding that Erdogan “has given very clear instructions on this issue.”
Operations in the U.S. have yet to go as far as the Kosovo incident.
Instead, the Turkish government has hired several lobbying firms and lawyers to debilitate a network of charter schools operated by Gulen’s followers. The lobbyists have also pressed officials in both the Obama and Trump administrations to extradite Gulen, who has lived in the U.S. under CIA protection since 1999.