Turkey Denies Plot To Kidnap Muslim Cleric From US

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Turkey denied allegations that Turkish officials may have plotted with and tried to bribe Michael Flynn to kidnap a Muslim cleric from the U.S.

The Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., denied allegations published in a Wall Street Journal story that Turkey plotted with Flynn, former U.S. national security sdviser, and his son Michael Flynn Jr., to have Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who has lived in Pennsylvania for 20 years, kidnapped and moved to Turkey for up to $15 million, according to the Associated Press.

The WSJ report alleged that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating Flynn for his supposed role in the plot, but the Turkish embassy claimed there was no plot at all and that the report is “utterly false, ludicrous and groundless.” Flynn’s lawyer also spoke out to denounce the allegations.

“Out of respect for the process of the various investigations regarding the 2016 campaign, we have intentionally avoided responding to every rumor or allegation,” a statement from Flynn’s attorneys read. “But today’s news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn, ranging from kidnapping to bribery, that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we are making an exception to our usual rule: they are false.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly claimed that Gülen is responsible for Turkey’s 2016 attempted coup and demanded that the U.S. extradite him.

The U.S. refused to extradite Gülen on the grounds that Erdogan did not produce evidence backing his claims that the cleric was in any way connected to the coup or that his following is a terrorist organization. Turkish authorities then arrested Pastor Andrew Brunson of North Carolina, who has lived in Turkey as a minister since 1993, on false charges of aiding the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and refuse to release him until the U.S. gives up Gülen.

The WSJ report, citing only “people with knowledge of the FBI’s inquiries” specifically alleged that the FBI is investigating an supposed meeting between Flynn and Turkish officials at the 21 club in New York City, where “one of the people who has spoken to the FBI” alleged that they discussed kidnapping Gülen and transporting him via private jet to a Turkish prison island called Imrali.

Despite the Turkish government holding a U.S. pastor hostage, the Turkish embassy flatly denied “all allegations that Turkey would resort to means external to the rule of law” to obtain Gülen.

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