No compromise with US on Gülen’s extradition: Turkish PM
Turkey will not compromise with Washington over the extradition of the Islamic preacher widely believed to have orchestrated a failed coup attempt, Prime Minister Binali Yildırım has said, warning of rising anti-Americanism if the United States fails to extradite.
Yıldırım’s comments, at a briefing for local reporters, were the latest to take aim at Turkey’s top NATO ally and coincided with a report that an Istanbul prosecutor wrote to U.S. authorities asking for the detention of cleric Fethullah Gulen.
“The U.S. stance is getting better,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told a group of Turkish journalists after announcing that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden would visit Turkey on Aug. 24.
Biden will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Yıldırım during a visit to Turkey on Aug. 24, the White House confrmed late Aug. 13. The visit will be the first by a high-ranking U.S. official since the July 15 failed coup attempt.
“There is no compromise apart from this chief terrorist coming to Turkey and being prosecuted. The U.S. cannot ignore our demand, it is crystal clear that FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] is behind the failed coup,” said Yıldırım.
“The only way to prevent the rising (negative) sentiment against America is for the U.S. to hand over this man and make sure Turkey’s justice system holds him accountable.”
Turkey’s foreign minister said this week documents had been sent to the United States and that Turkey had received “positive signals” about Gülen’s possible extradition. Turkey has not said clearly whether it has filed a formal extradition request.
Yıldırım said a U.S. technical team would visit Turkey on Aug. 22 to discuss legal issues relating to the possible extradition, according to Anadolu. He said Secretary of State John Kerry is due in October, according to broadcaster CNN Turk.
The Istanbul chief prosecutor wrote to U.S. authorities asking for Gülen’s detention, CNN Turk said.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry passed on the letter - which contained 10 charges against Gülen including attempting to overthrow the government - to the United States, it added.
Over 80,000 sacked
Yıldırım also announced the latest numbers in the operations against Gülen-linked public employees and soldiers.
According to the prime minister, 76,597 civil servants have been suspended over links to the coup attempt, and 4,897, including more than 3,000 soldiers, have been dismissed from their posts, bringing the total number to 81,974.
“There are difficulties in determining those who are not directly involved with the organization, but we are doing our best to make no mistakes,” he said.
“They have their own communication network of 50,000 people. We still have limited information, and our efforts are for normalization with minimum mistakes.”
Yıldırım said individuals, not the institutions, will be targeted in the probes into the Gülen-linked businesses.
The Syria crisis was also on Yıldırım’s agenda.
“Do not be surprised if very important developments regarding Syria occur in the next six months,” the prime minister said.