Graham Fuller rejects Turkey’s claims of involvement in coup plot

Retired CIA official, Graham Fuller, dismissed accusations by Turkey that he was involved in the failed coup attempt last year following an arrest warrant for his detention announced by Turkish media on Friday.

Fuller, a retired CIA analyst, said he was accused by Turkish government of being a “CIA handler” of US-based Muslim-Turkish scholar Fetullah Gülen, who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Edrogan claims is responsible for orchestrating last year’s coup attempt, The Associated Press reported on Saturday. Gülen denies the accusations and has denounced Erdoğan’s consolidation of power, calling him a “dictator.”

Turkish government has issued an arrest warrant for “violating the Turkish constitution, attempting to overturn the government, interfering in the government’s duties and espionage,” as reported by state-run Anadolu Agency on Friday.

The arrest warrant also stated that Fuller was in Turkey on July 15, 2016, the date of the coup attempt and left the country shortly after the failure of the attempted takeover.

In an emailed statement to AP late Friday, Fuller rejected claims that he was in Turkey during that time and said that he was in Canada on that day speaking to a group of 100 people and that he hasn’t been to Turkey in five years.

Fuller hasn’t served for the CIA in Turkey since the 1960’s and said he met Gülen only once 15 years ago in İstanbul, which wasn’t until after he had already retired from the CIA. He is an author specializing in Islamic extremism and said he was “impressed” by the Gülen movement’s “progressive and tolerant visions of Islam.”

Fuller expressed doubt over any CIA involvement in the “pathetic, ill-conceived and amateurish, coup attempt” in Turkey. He also doubts that Gülen had any hand in “ordering” the coup to take place and that many people in European intelligence shared his beliefs.

Graham E. Fuller (born November 28, 1937) is an American author and political analyst, specializing in Islamic extremism. Formerly vice-chair of the US National Intelligence Council, he also served as Station Chief in Kabul for the CIA. A “think piece” that Fuller wrote for the CIA was identified as instrumental in leading to the Iran–Contra affair.

After a career in the United States State Department and CIA lasting 27 years, he joined Rand Corporation as senior political scientist specializing in the Middle East. As of 2006, he was affiliated with the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, as an adjunct professor of history. He is the author of a number of books, including The Future of Political Islam.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempton July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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