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Thursday Letters: U.S. should stand with Turkey against plotters

Women are reflected in a shop window as they walk at a shopping street in Istanbul, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

On July 15, a small faction in the Turkish armed forces, tied to a secret terror cult, attempted to stage a coup in Turkey, with a purpose to topple the democratically elected government. The coup plotters were part of a larger illegal secret cult namely the “Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization.”

More than 240 civilians and law enforcement officers were shot and more than 2,000 were wounded by putschists, run over by tanks, shelled by assault helicopters and killed by bombs dropped from hijacked fighter jets. Parliament, the Presidential Palace, police, military and intelligence headquarters were heavily assaulted.

This may sound like a Hollywood movie scenario to the average American, but unfortunately all this really happened in Turkey. To help the American people put this into a context, I can say that it was Turkey’s 9/11 in terms of the magnitude of the cruelty and the trauma. After this heinous attack on our nation, we felt the same amount of shock, fear and concern that the American people had felt right after 9/11.

The Gülen Movement is a threat to our national security and to the national security of all countries where they are present. There are numerous indictments against him and his cult. Public prosecutor’s offices in various cities in Turkey continue their investigations. According to the indictment of the chief public prosecutor, the accusations against the group include conspiring against the Turkish state, espionage, illegal wiretapping of public figures, including the prime minister and journalists, infiltrating key government institutions, including through cheating in nationwide exams, trying to topple the elected government through its members in the police and judiciary, and profiling civil servants and their families for the purpose of blackmail.

Gulen, who is being sought by Turkish officials to stand trial on several counts of conspiracy, resides in southern Pennsylvania. His extradition to Turkey is the strongest expectation of the people of Turkey from the U.S. As the Turkish foreign minister has recently made clear, “the position of the U.S. on this vital matter may shape the future relations of the two key allies. We expect the U.S. authorities … to take immediate action in restricting the activities of Gulen as well as his network, and extradite him to Turkey.”

I am confident that the Obama administration and the friendly American nation will stand by Turkey, a NATO ally, and show solidarity with its people in these difficult times, as Turkey and the Turkish people have stood by the U.S. for decades.

Umut Acar

Consul General of Turkey in Chicago

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GOP solely to blame for Donald Trump

In Madeleine Doubek’s column this week, “Democrats gave life to Sanders, Trump, Rauner,” she blames old-school Democrats for the rise of some of the most unqualified and ineffective politicians our land has ever seen. And Bernie Sanders. Too bad it doesn’t work that way.

Sanders, with a career of effective service as a legislator, gravitated to the Democratic Party because that was the only place his voice would be allowed to be heard. Hardly the Democrats’ “fault” that they are inclusive enough to entertain liberal world views.

It was Republican voters who forced Trump on the nation. Democrats have nothing to do with his rise on the back of his racist, sexist and nonsensical rantings.

You might say that the Democrats’ actions helped with the rise of Rauner — if you ignore the fact that Illinois still elected a Democrat, Pat Quinn, after the debacle of Rod Blagojevich.

Now, Blago . . . Democrats have to take credit for that. Nobody is perfect.

Don Anderson, Oak Park