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TURKEY ISSUES ARREST WARRANT FOR FORMER CIA OFFICIAL GRAHAM FULLER

The Azeri Times

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The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Dec. 1 issued an arrest warrant for Graham Fuller, the former vice-chairman of the National Intelligence Council of the CIA, over his alleged involvement in the July 2016 coup attempt.

The arrest warrant alleges that Fuller was in Turkey during the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and left the country after the failure of the attempted military takeover.

The warrant accuses Fuller of “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey and obstructing the duties of the Republic of Turkey,” ”obtaining state information that must be kept secret for political and military espionage purposes,” and “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.”

It also states that Fuller was in contact with American academic Henri Barkey, who was also previously subject of an arrest warrant in Turkey, as well as other figures who played a role in the coup attempt.

Barkey is accused by prosecutors of organizing and coordinating the coup attempt in a meeting on Istanbul’s Büyükada island between July 15 and July 16, 2016.

Prosecutors claim that Fuller also participated in this meeting.

The arrest warrant comes after notorious Russian strategist Alexander Dugin had claimed during a recent TV broadcast in Turkey that both Barkey and Fuller attended the meeting on Büyükada. Dugin also stated that Russian intelligence agencies had “concrete evidence that CIA agents commanded the failed coup attempt.”

In 2006 Fuller wrote a letter supporting the U.S. green card application of Fethullah Gülen, who Turkey considers the coup’s mastermind.

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The United States

Trump will agree to an extradition hearing for Fethullah Gülen – The Weekly Standard

The Azeri Times

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American diplomats are quietly attempting to work out a solution for the dispute between Turkey and the United States and President Donald Trump will agree to an extradition hearing for U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, the Weekly Standard said on Saturday.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) allege that Gülen is the head of a terrorist organisation that orchestrated the coup attempt in 2016, and has repeatedly announced its delivery of extradition requests  to U.S. authorities.

Tensions between Turkey and the United States have reached a peak this summer over U.S. citizens jailed in Turkey including U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s refusal to bow to U.S. pressure and release the prisoners has led to a round of threats, sanctions and tariff hikes sent the lira plummeting to record lows.

“The diplomats who play corner men to the battling pugilists are quietly attempting to negotiate a solution that will salve the egos of both presidents, and preserve a partnership that is important to both countries,” the Weekly Standard said, adding that Trump’s advisor John Bolton has been meeting with Ankara’s ambassador to Washington to work out a solution.

As a solution, President Trump will agree to an extradition hearing for Fethullah Gülen and President Erdoğan will respond by trying, convicting, and then deporting Brunson, according to the Weekly Standard.

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Middle East

Turkey’s spokesperson slams NYT article on operation targeting PKK chief

The Azeri Times

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Turkey’s presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın Aug. 18 called an article by the New York Times about the Turkish airstrike targeting a chief of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “a blatant attempt to justify and whitewash PKK terrorism.”

İsmail Özden, a senior figure of the PKK, was killed in a joint operation by the Turkish military and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) backed by unmanned aerial vehicles in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar on Aug. 15.

The NYT published an article about the airstrike on Aug. 17, describing Özden as “a hero to the Yazidi minority group in northern Iraq because he helped when they were threatened by ISIS,” referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“This is not journalism. This is a blatant attempt by @nytimes to justify and whitewash PKK terrorism. By the same logic, [Osama] Bin Laden was a ‘hero’ to some?! Would you call [Slobodan] Milosevic and [Ratko] Mladic also ‘heros’ to some people?!” Kalın responded on Twitter on Aug. 18.

Turkish authorities say Özden, 66, was actively operating in Europe from 1992 to 1996. Arrested in Germany for “being a PKK member” and “attacking workplaces of Turkish people” in 1996, Özden was released in 1998. In 2018, he began spearheading PKK activities in Iraq’s Sinjar, according to Turkish officials, where he led the PKK’s illegal drug and arms trafficking in the region.

The airstrike targeting Özden was named after Bedirhan Mustafa Karakaya, an 11-month baby who was killed in a PKK bomb attack on July 31.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

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The United States

US pastor in Turkey appeals for release after key Washington meeting

The Azeri Times

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U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, whose detention has caused one of deepest rows ever between Turkey and the U.S., has renewed his appeal to a Turkish court to release him from house arrest and lift his travel ban, in a development that comes a day after Turkish Ambassador to Washington Serdar Kılıç had a meeting with National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Brunson’s lawyer, İsmail Cem Halavurt, filed the demand on Aug. 14 around a week after his previous appeal was rejected by the Turkish court in the western province of İzmir.

The continued detention of Brunson has become a lightning rod in strained relations between Turkey and the U.S., leading the U.S. to slap economic and political sanctions on its NATO ally Turkey.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence had threatened Turkeywith more sanctions if Brunson was not released and sent back home.

The recent situation in ties and the Brunson affair were discussed in Washington between Kılıç and Bolton. Although the White House said the meeting took place upon Kılıç’s will, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stressed that it was arranged by the White House.

“The meeting was scheduled by the White House. Contacts between our ambassador and the White House naturally continue,” he said at a press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Aug. 14.

“There are those who want to resolve this Brunson issue while some others want to prolong it until the November [mid-term] elections in the U.S.,” the minister stated, while complaining about confusion and miscommunication in the Trump administration.

“What our ambassador has told Bolton is clear: There are issues we have been discussing. We have drafted road maps and action plans with regard to these issues. We have updated them once again,” he said.

Kılıç reiterated that threats and sanctions will not help and will only worsen ties between the two countries, Çavuşoğlu noted, saying “relations with Turkey can be improved if the U.S. abandons the language of sanctions and threats.”

The minister said there was no change in the conditions of Brunson, who continues to receive consular access from U.S. diplomatic missions.

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