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DIPLOMACY >Trump will do what Obama failed to do about Gülen: Erdoğan

ANKARA

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U.S. President Donald Trump will do what former President Barack Obama failed to do regarding the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, accused of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup attempt, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said April 20.  

“I believe Trump will do what Obama failed to do in this regard,” Erdoğan said in an interview with private broadcaster A News.

Erdoğan said he expected the U.S. to make the necessary administrative decision to prevent Gülen from operating a “terrorist organization” in Pennsylvania.   

“This terrorist leader is residing in a country, which is our strategic ally, and it is upsetting not only me but also the Turkish nation,” he added. 

“I think they will at least call him to account,” he said.  

Ankara says the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), headed by Gülen, orchestrated the July 15, 2016, attempted takeover, which left 249 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.    

According to the Turkish government, FETÖ is behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.    

Gülen has been living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.      

Following the failed coup attempt, Turkey sent the U.S. an official request for Gülen’s extradition based on a 1979 treaty between the two countries.      

Upon Washington’s request, Turkey sent another file in August 2016 along with evidence to the U.S. that summarized four previously sent files. Afterwards, a U.S. delegation visited Turkey at the end of August 2016 and monitored those documents. The U.S. then wanted an additional batch of files and evidence from Turkey, which Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ presented to then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch during a meeting in October 2016.      

The extradition treaty includes an article that the suspect should be provisionally arrested until the extradition process starts.   

Erdoğan is officially scheduled to visit the U.S. on May 16 and 17, with Gülen’s extradition to top the agenda as well as Syria and Iraq.

April/21/2017

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