Letter to Congressional Delegation re: President Erdogan of Turkey

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Vermont Congressional Delegation

October 10, 2016

Regarding: Turkey President Erdogan’s illegal crackdown on critics of the government and his request of the United States to extradite Fethullah Gulen.

Dear Senators Leahy and Sanders and Congressman Welch,

I write to urge you to support pressure on President Erdogan to cease using the failed coup attempt in Turkey to harass citizens of other political parties or persuasions and their families.

I happened to be in Istanbul looking at their solid waste system when the Gezi Park Protest in Taksim Square started in Spring, 2013. Students and some academics started the movement. I tasted my first tear gas as President Erodogan cracked down immediately in a failed attempt to stop peaceful protests. The more he cracked down, the more people joined the movement adding to its growth.

Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen were once political allies. They no longer are and like the Gezi Park Movement, any public disagreement with the government is treated as if it was illegal and against Turkey. Hence, with no evidence, Turkey has appealed to the U.S. to extradite Gulen to Turkey claiming that he is responsible for the failed coup attempt. Something he soundly denounced immediately when the coup began.

Secretary of State John Kerry took the right and the legal position that Gulen would not be extradited without evidence indicating illegal activity in Turkey. Please support our keeping that stance and not to give into pressure otherwise from the Erdogan government.

Sincerely yours,

Rep. Curt McCormack, Burlington