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DIPLOMACY >US must at least give Gülen house arrest: Turkish Deputy PM

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The United States should at least give the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen house arrest, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said, adding that their alliance requires the U.S. to arrest him.

“What we’re telling American authorities is that the nature of our relationship, our alliance in NATO for years, our strategic alliances in the Middle East, the intense history of Turkish-American relations and friendship requires this man [Gülen] to be immediately arrested,” Kurtulmuş told journalists after a cabinet meeting on July 17.

Turkey has repeatedly requested Gülen’s extradition from the U.S., saying that all the necessary files for him to be arrested and sent back to Turkey were delivered to the U.S. authorities.

The U.S., in return, has been saying that the legal process into the issue has been ongoing. 

The extradition of Gülen has been an element of tension between Ankara and Washington and the issue came to the agenda with the latest interviews the leader of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) gave western media.

Gülen is widely believed to have been behind the July 15 coup attempt that left 250 people killed and 2,193 others wounded.

During his speech, Kurtulmuş said it’s unacceptable for “the leader of a killer organization with blood on its hands” to continue its activities from the U.S.

“If you are saying ‘This is a judicial process,’ then you should arrest the man where he is and if you’re not extraditing him to us, at least limit his activities by bringing him under house arrest,” he also said. 

Saying that Gülen continues to threaten Turkey, Kurtulmuş noted that the U.S. should incapacitate him from leading his network to remove his potential to continue his “treacherous and hostile attitudes towards Turkey.”

Kurtulmuş also commented on the texts seen on a TV screen in the pictures featured in Gülen’s interview.

“That’s absolutely not an ordinary picture. Those are remarks that covertly include threats against the state of the Turkish Republic and try to cheer up the organization members, who are brought to account in the courts,” he also said. 

In the press briefing, Kurtulmuş shared numbers regarding dismissals with state of emergency decrees.

“This struggle [against Gülenists] is not one that can end easily. As you see, dismissals from the public sector are ongoing with the state of emergencies. A total of 26 state-of-emergency decrees were issued since the beginning of the state of emergency. Necessary efforts to clear the state from this organization were carried out meticulously with these decrees. Some 111,240 people were dismissed from their public duties. A total of 32,180 were suspended. The number of those dismissed corresponds to 3.5 percent of all public workers,” he also said, adding that one of the main tools of the struggle against FETÖ is drying their financial resources.

“Some 966 companies were seized over their links to the group and were transferred to the TMSF [Saving Deposits Insurance Fund]. In addition, 4,888 assets of these companies were confiscated and their immovable assets were transferred to the treasury,” he noted.

The state of emergency commission received a total of 3,028 applications in a single day on July 17 and is expected to receive over 120,000 applications, Kurtulmuş noted.

Moreover, more than six million people attended the commemoration events organized to mark the thwarted coup, said Kurtulmuş.

July/18/2017

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