08:52 GMT +322 January 2017
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    A Turkish and an Union Jack flags are pictured at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels

    NATO R.I.P. (1949-2016): Will Turkey-US Rift Over Gulen Destroy Alliance?

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    A standoff between the United States and Turkey, two largest NATO powers, over extradition of Pennsylvania-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen to his homeland, could shake to the ground the military alliance, experts suggest.

    Despite the United States denying all allegations of being involved in the Turkish coup, the Gulen issue keeps the relations between Washington and Ankara extremely tense.

    Ankara has accused Gulen, who moved to the US in 1999 after falling in disgrace with Turkish authorities, of orchestrating an attempted coup in the country.

    On Saturday President Erdogan demanded Barack Obama to hand over the self-exiled cleric to Turkey in order to save bilateral cooperation between the two countries. After that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim pledged a war against any power who backs the cleric, implicitly referring to the US.

    Turkish Labor Minister Suleyman Soylu went even further, claiming Washington had been preparing the coup for several months: “For many months we have sent requests to the US concerning Fethullah Gulen. The US must extradite him."

    Washington rejected an extradition request as groundless, saying there’s no credible proof of Gulen’s alleged involment.

    “The US is not going to extradite this guy and I think he probably didn’t have much role in the coup,” Ivan Eland, a defense analyst, outlined in an interview with RT.

    Eland continued by stating that the deepening contradictions between NATO’s two largest militaries will definitely adversely affect the alliance, as well as joint efforts such as the anti-Daesh military campaign.

    Turkey, who has long been the key partner of Americans in the Middle East, is no longer seen as a reliable ally by Washington now. The instability that has plagued the country, caused by the policies of its own leader, the analyst added.

    “NATO counts on Turkey as being an island of stability in that area but, of course, Turkey has been anything but recently with ISIS attacks, Kurdish rebellion, inflamed by Erdogan himself and, of course, you have all these refugees flowing in their tooth.”

    On the other hand, Turkey will likely to reconsider its relations with NATO that hasn’t rushed to help the legitimate leader of one of its member countries when the attempted overthrow was underway.

    “This is very embarrassing to NATO, because it views itself as the alliance of democracies, and so when you have a coup attempt in one of the democracies, this is very embarrassing to the alliance,” Eland pointed out.

    Meanwhile, the first sign of the deterioration of relations between the US and Turkey could be observed on Saturday, when Ankara shut down the Incirlik airbase, occasionally used by NATO to launch its air operations.

    Related:

    Cleric Accused of Plotting Turkey Coup Not Afraid of Extradition From US
    British Gov't Continues to Monitor Situation in Turkey After Thwarted Coup
    Coup Attempt Risks Triggering Large-Scale Collapse of Turkish Economy
    Tags:
    Daesh, NATO, Barack Obama, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Fethullah Gulen, Turkey, United States
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    • ivanwa88
      'You will reap what you sow' seems to fall sharply into the picture for all concerned. This has been the Devils plot from start to finish, you choose.
    • ProtectUSA1st
      “AMERICA 1st ”
       The “God” of President Putin & the Russian People
       Thanks to USA-EU & NATO Corrupt Brain-Dead & Warmonger Politicians like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Victory Nuland, her husband, etc., etc., & their Media created the suffering of the SMART, STRONG, PROUD, PEACEFUL, CULTURED President Putin & the Russian People
       WHY? For UNKNOWN-UNCIVILIZED- WARMONGERS Ukraine, as if Mr. Putin Forced CRIMEA to join Russia, instead of the Crimeans.
       WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND_ Shock Wave _BR/EXIT
       Thanks, to President Putin, Russia is still a Great Country.
       NATO R.I.P. may not happen anytime soon, but I Hope, and if Trump wins, he Loves USA, likes Mr. Putin, and he is a businessman, so he will cut NATO’s Waste from every corner.
       Translation = NO Battalions outside Russia’s Doors, SO, NO WW-3
       President Erdogan, Let me Count the Ways —
       Now, Mr. Putin has Forgiven him, if USA does not give him his man Mr. Erdogan will go MAD & will do whatever comes to his mind at that “Particular-Time”
       He is still MAD with EU after the Visa Fiasco & given-up on the Deal.
       With NATO he is just playing NATO’s Games, and simply Existing.
    • Mikhas
      According to some reports during the coup, Erdogan asked Germany for refuge for him, his family and a couple of molested goats.
    • Gold
      Lets hope Turkey leaves NATO.
    • StanK
      This is like someone knocking over a few pieces on the international chess board and saying , "Oh, where were we?"
    • teddy j
      if this ''rift" between USA AND TURKEY destroy NATO which is a USA project -- it is a GOOD THING for the world.
    • michael
      no rift, only a media circus and words flying...
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