Detain Gülen before he escapes: Turkey to US
Oya Armutçu – ANKARAAnkara has warned officials in the United States that they should detain Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen before he escapes to another country, in a temporary detention request sent by the Turkish Justice Ministry to Washington on Sept. 13.
Turkey says in the document that Gülen “ordered and commanded” Turkey’s bloody coup attempt of July 15 and is the head of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). In the detention request, Ankara said it has intelligence that Gülen may be planning to escape to a third country such as Canada or South Africa.
The witness testimony given by Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office was included in the extradition request.
Akar, who was abducted and held hostage in the Akıncı Air Base in Ankara, said in his testimony that Bridg. Gen. Hakan Evrim wanted him to speak to Gülen during the coup attempt.
The testimony of Akar’s aide-de-camp, Infantry Lt. Col. Levent Türkkan, who has admitted to being a Gülenist and who described how the coup attempt was planned by FETÖ, was also included in the request as evidence that Gülen orchestrated the failed takeover.
The Turkish authorities referred to a deal between Ankara and Washington regarding the extradition of criminals in the request for Gülen’s arrest.
They say Gülen’s extradition request could be adjudicated under a 1979 treaty between the U.S. and Turkey, one of more than 100 the U.S. has signed with other countries, which would require the U.S. to arrest and detain Gülen for up to 60 days to give Turkey time to prepare a formal extradition request and to keep him in custody until a decision is handed down in his extradition case.
Six different charges were included in the extradition request: Premeditated murder, attempted assassination of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, attempted removal of the constitutional order, attempted destruction of the Turkish Parliament and preventing it from continuing its activities, attempted destruction of the Turkish Republic, and forming and managing an armed terrorist organization.
It was also mentioned in the request that Turkey is seeking a life sentence for Gülen.