From hardcore secularists to conservatives, from nationalists to internationalists, from the elderly to toddlers, from the educated to the uneducated, straight or gay, poor or rich, millions of women and men from all ethnic and religious backgrounds have united to show the world how strong Turkey's democracy truly is. The Gülenist Terror Organization's (FETÖ) attempted coup on July 15 unified a polarized country. In the history of modern Turkey, the bond that keeps the Turkish society together has never been stronger. Everyone opposed the coup attempt and every single citizen knows who was behind it.
The millions who gathered at Yenikapı Sqaure in Istanbul demonstrated their loyalty to democracy while sending a strong message to Fethullah Gülen who is a threat to everything they hold dear. Yesterday was also a message to his American enablers. The millions at Yenikapı and many more millions across the country demanded the extradition of FETÖ leader Fethullah Gülen so that he can finally face justice.
There is one fact beyond doubt. By instigating the failed coup, the freakish imam who rules over his grotesque criminal organization from Pennsylvania has become an enormous headache for the U.S. and seriously harmed that country's national interests. The entire world, especially American allies, is observing this process and the loss of trust in the U.S. administration. How can U.S. officials expect statements professing their involvement in the July 15 coup attempt to be seen as credible by the world, and specifically the Turkish people, when they continue to provide sanctuary to Gülen?
I am baffled by what the U.S. Embassy in Turkey is doing here. I attended a meeting held by U.S. Ambassador John Bass the other day. He resolutely rejected claims that the U.S. was in anyway involved in the coup plot. I respect his statement.
We all know U.S. national interests are his main priority. He must be aware that the widespread Turkish public perception does nothing but harm those interests. Rather than repeating the daily press briefings of the U.S. State Department spokesman, he certainly knew more satisfactory explanations were needed. In this regard, what Bass said was a disappointment. If Bass's hands are tied by the U.S. administration's stance toward Turkey, he should realize that this is seen as a sign of how clueless he and the embassy are about how the Gülenist coup plot and how they are perceived by the Turkish public.
I cannot emphasize strongly enough how negatively the Turkish public views the cool and calculated statements emanating from the U.S. and its envoy about "judicial independence," "convincing evidence" and "time consuming detailed assessments." Such remarks help U.S. interests not one bit.
I would like to underline a few key points for the U.S. administration.
The ordinary people on the streets, irrespective of their political affiliation, religion or ethnicity, have never been so in accord on a single issue.
Just to ensure everyone understands without a single shadow of a doubt, I would like to repeat the facts.
The public is so certain of Fethullah Gülen and his FETÖ's culpability in the coup attempt that the U.S. administration's assertions that it supports the elected government and democracy are seen as lacking credibility.
I am not referring to those marginal groups that base their entire political ideology on anti-Americanism. Neither am I referring to politicians or bureaucrats. What I am trying to make everyone understand is the fact that the U.S. is losing legitimacy in the eyes of almost the entire Turkish public, not a fringe portion.
If the U.S. ambassador sent to Ankara to keep tabs on the societal mood is yet to brief his bosses on how estranged the Turkish public has become from the U.S., Washington, D.C. can send a delegation of social researchers and political scientists to see how things stand and report back on the public perception of America.
Daily Sabah and the rest of the Turkish media are reporting in detail an incredible amount of evidence on the coup plot. However, no one here believes that the failure to deliver Gülen to Turkish justice has anything to do with evidence. The CIA is well aware that the coup attempt was planned by Gülen. Ordinary Turks believe that the CIA has more evidence proving FETÖ's crimes than Turkey does.
The U.S. should think long and hard about formulating an exit strategy from the current public relations disaster they face in Turkey.
Allow me to extend this friendly advice.
If the U.S. extradites Gülen, Turkey and the rest of the world will stop talking about the power behind FETÖ and focus on Gülen himself. As long as the FETÖ leader remains in Pennsylvania, Turkish and global media will report on Gülen and his American sanctuary. The only viable exit strategy in line with U.S. national interests is one that involves the extradition of Gülen and a pledge to join Turkey's global fight against Gülenists.
There is no historical animosity toward the U.S. among the public. The moment Gülen faces Turkish justice, the image that the U.S. is backing FETÖ will disappear.
I sincerely hope that the U.S. will finally understand the strong message sent by the Turkish public. If it wants to win over the people on the streets, it should immediately heed this message rather than play the delaying game. If the U.S. continues to be deaf to Turkish concerns, it will face an irredeemable loss of trust among the Turkish public.