Turkey is denying a report that it may have discussed a plot to seize a Muslim cleric living in the United States with a former Trump administration official.
According to a Wall Street Journal story published Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged plan involving President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, to kidnap Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who has lived in the U.S. since 1999. According to the report, Flynn and his son were to receive as much as $15 million for delivering Gulen to the Turks.
In a statement released Saturday evening, the Turkish embassy in Washington called allegations that Turkey would use means outside the legal process to return Gulen to Turkey “utterly false, ludicrous and groundless.”
Turkey claims the cleric orchestrated a July 2016 coup attempt by members of the Turkish military that left more than 240 people dead. Gulen has denied any role in the plot to overthrow the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In its statement denying the Wall Street Journal report, Turkey said it continues to work with U.S. agencies to obtain Gulen’s extradition, and repeated charges that the cleric was the mastermind of the attempted coup.
Earlier, Flynn’s lawyer called the allegations that the former general and national security advisor was plotting a kidnapping “false” and “outrageous.”