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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Turkey fears Fethullah Gulen is planning to seek refuge in Canada.

Turkey fears Fethullah Gulen is planning to seek refuge in Canada. (Napo).

Turkey fears Fethullah Gulen, the cleric it accuses of orchestrating a failed coup that killed hundreds of civilians and led to a severe crackdown on his followers, is about to flee to Canada from his long exile in Pennsylvania.

This would be “a landmine for our relationship,” said Cemalettin Kani Torun, deputy chair of the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee, and leader of a cross-party delegation that is in Canada this week trying to raise awareness of what it calls the terrorist threat posed by Gulen and his followers.

He pointed to several indications, including rumors Gulen has purchased a property in Ontario, Canada’s lack of an extradition treaty with Turkey, and the upcoming visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Turkey to discuss Gulen’s possible extradition on charges of plotting to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and seize power for himself.

He also accused Canadian officials, MPs, “policy chiefs,” and “many high-level people they think they can use in future” of accepting bribes, in the form of trips to Turkey, from Gulen’s organization.

He is “a terrorist man” said Izzet Ulvi Yonter, MP for Istanbul and a member of the Nationalist Movement Party, in a media conference with the delegation at the Turkish consulate in Toronto on Wednesday.

After meetings in Ottawa and Montreal, they are to meet Thursday with MP Omar Alghabra, parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs.

Gulen’s followers, who call their movement Hizmet, meaning service in Turkish, are well-established in Canada. Their immigration to Canada is as old as the movement, which began in Turkey in the 1960s. Read the full story here.

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