Chairman of Turkey’s parliamentary Coup Investigation Commission Reşat Petek has said the US’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is standing behind US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and is afraid of Gülen speaking about his ties with the US, according to a story in the Milliyet daily on Tuesday.
Gülen is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, although he strongly denies any involvement.
Turkey has been insistently demanding Gülen’s extradition from the US, while US officials say it is the US courts that will make the decision and that they require concrete evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the coup attempt.
The Coup Investigation Commission was established in the aftermath of the July 15 failed coup in an attempt to shed light on the incident but is widely criticized for failing to hear key figures related to the coup and hence is being accused of trying to cover up the coup attempt’s real masterminds.
“There are suspicions suggesting Gülen’s financial and political relations with the CIA. … CIA officials are standing behind him, and they won’t allow him to be sent abroad. They are afraid of his speaking,” said Petek.
It is common for Turkish ruling party officials to accuse the Gülen movement, inspired by the teachings of Gülen, of having links to the US intelligence services. To the contrary, some party officials also accuse the Gülen movement of working against the interests of the US or infiltrating important institutions in the country.