Gülen has purchased land in Canada, Turkish justice minister says

Gülen has purchased land in Canada, Turkish justice minister says

Gülen has purchased land in Canada, Turkish justice minister says

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Ankara has received intelligence that U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen might be considering leaving the United State for Canada after purchasing land in the country, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has said, noting that the prolongation of Gülen’s extradition would harm relations between Washington and Ankara.

“There is strong intelligence pointing to the purchase of land in different countries, especially in Canada. We have intelligence that those activities accelerated after [Donald] Trump was elected,” Bozdağ said in a televised interview with CNN Türk's Feb. 23.

“We also conveyed that information to the U.S. Department of Justice,” Bozdağ said.

Gülen is accused of masterminding the July 15, 2016, coup attempt.

His comments came after a question concerning rumors that Gülen could be deported from the U.S. – something that the Turkish government would consider as a “positive move,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Feb. 22. 

“We want a judgement. But there are also administrative measures to be taken. Our preference is extradition, but we would consider the deportation [to another country] as a positive move,” Yıldırım said.

Bozdağ said Turkey was insisting on Gülen’s extradition. “All the documents that are related to the July 15 coup attempt are in the hands of the U.S. Department of Justice. On one hand, they say it is a matter that is related to the judiciary, but on the other hand, they have not submitted the files to the judiciary,” Bozdağ said. 

Bozdağ has already penned a letter to new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is now making a “a positive assessment of the issue,” according to the Turkish minister.

“The new administration says it is a legal issue but is not giving it to the judiciary. But they are emphasizing that we need to talk about it, evaluate and work together on it,” he said, adding that the process should not take so long.

“The prolongation of the process is affecting relations negatively. The decision not to extradite Gülen would surely harm Turkey-U.S. relations in a way that would be very difficult to restore,” he added.

“Would the U.S. not feel uncomfortable if Turkey were indifferent to the U.S.’ extradition request for Osama Bin Laden? Of course not,” he said.