Stay the course in Gulen case

Ever since the failed July 15 coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his government has applied all of the pressure it can muster to extradite exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey contends that Imam Gulen, who lives in Saylorsburg, Monroe County, prompted his followers in Turkey to launch the coup.

So far the Obama administration rightly has resisted Turkey’s pressure, insisting that any extradition effort must be rooted in the American rule of law. Unfortunately, that standard becomes more distinct, by the day, from the authoritarian rule that Mr. Erdogan has accelerated in Turkey since the coup attempt.

Extradition is a multi-layered legal process in the United States, requiring actual evidence rather than the mere allegations offered so far by Mr. Erdogan’s government.

Those layers, in diplomatic cases such as this, include extensive vetting by the State Department to determine that a returned suspect will receive fair legal treatment and that meeting another government’s request is in the best interest of the United States.

Mr. Erdogan railed against the administration last week even as U.S. and Turkish forces conducted highly coordinated and effective joint military operations against the Islamic State group in Syria. Those operations demonstrated the true underlying interests of both countries, which Mr. Erdogan would be a fool to sacrifice for the sake of his ongoing internal purge. The administration is right on the extradition matter and should stay the course.

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