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Boston Globe: Fethullah Gulen, a US resident wanted by Turkey, must be protected

Following the revelation last week by NBC News that the administration was weighing whether to extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen to Turkey, President Trump said on Saturday that he wasn’t considering it.

For now.

“No, it’s not under consideration,” Trump told reporters. While he was prepared to do whatever he could for Turkey, “at this point” the administration would not be sending Gulen back to the country he left voluntarily in 1999.

Why was the White House even talking about Gulen, who has been living peacefully, and legally, in Pennsylvania? The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi , which occured at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, has handed Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan powerful leverage with both Saudi Arabia and the United States, and there are well-grounded fears that he’s using that leverage to try to achieve his longstanding goal of seizing Gulen. The steady trickle of information Turkey is releasing on the gruesome circumstances of the Oct. 2 murder of Khashoggi has discredited Saudi Arabia’s official interpretation of the story and put mounting pressure on Washington to rethink US-Saudi relations. If the United States extradited Gulen, many believe that the embarrassing disclosures would cease overnight.

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