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16 Dec, 2018 13:00

Washington is working on extraditing ‘coup plotter’ Gulen to Ankara, Turkish FM says

Washington is working on extraditing ‘coup plotter’ Gulen to Ankara, Turkish FM says

The US is considering fulfilling Ankara’s long standing request to extradite Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. Turkey accuses Gulen of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt.

According to Mevlut Cavusoglu, US President Donald Trump told Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Washington was “working on extraditing Gulen and other people." He noted that the talk took place at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, two weeks ago.

Speaking at a conference in Doha, UAE, Cavusoglu also said that the US is investigating the cleric’s organization – the ‘Gulen Movement’, known as FETO in Turkey – for tax fraud.

Fethullah Gulen, 77, has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. Ankara considers his organization a terror group aiming to infiltrate the army and overthrow the government.


The ‘Gulen question’ remained one of the most contentious issues in US-Turkish relations, until more bad blood was added with disagreements over Turkish military operations in Syria and plans to buy Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems.

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Ankara repeatedly called for the cleric to be extradited, but each US administration rejected all such requests, citing the lack of evidence against Gulen.

The calls to hand him over flared up again after the 2016 coup attempt when Turkish leadership accused the Gulen Movement of staging a military revolt. Turkey demanded Washington to surrender the organization’s leader along with 84 of his followers. President Erdogan even threatened that he would not turn over any terror suspect to the US until Gulen’s extradition was fulfilled.

US officials admitted to receiving “multiple requests” concerning Gulen. “We continue to evaluate the material that the Turkish government presents requesting his extradition,” the US Department of State spokesperson, Heather Nauert said in November.

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