Lawyers for exiled cleric call Flynn’s comments ‘troubling’

Lawyers for a Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric accused by Turkey of masterminding a failed coup said Friday they’re confident he won’t be extradited, even though President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for national security adviser recently denounced him as a “masked source of terror” and argued the U.S. shouldn’t allow him to stay.

Michael Flynn, a former Army lieutenant general tapped Friday by Trump, was highly critical of Fethullah Gulen in an Election Day op-ed for the Washington, D.C.-based newspaper The Hill.

“Gulen’s vast global network has all the right markings to fit the description of a dangerous sleeper terror network. From Turkey’s point of view, Washington is harboring Turkey’s Osama bin Laden,” Flynn wrote. “We should not provide him safe haven.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan contends Gulen orchestrated an attempted military coup in July and has demanded his extradition. President Barack Obama’s administration has not complied. Gulen has never been charged with a crime in the U.S., and he has consistently denounced terrorism as well as the failed coup in Turkey.

One of Gulen’s lawyers, Jason Weinstein, called Flynn’s comments about Gulen “troubling” but said the extradition process is a legal matter in the hands of the Department of Justice.

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