Turkey denies Gülen denaturalization may prevent extradition from US
ANKARAThe denaturalization of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen would not create an obstacle to his extradition from the U.S. to Turkey, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said June 6.
His remarks came one day after the Interior Ministry issued a notice for 130 people abroad, who are being investigated on terror charges and crimes against the constitutional order, to be denaturalized unless they return and apply to the relevant institutions in Turkey within a three-month period.
According to a government decision officially published on June 5, Ankara will revoke the citizenship of 130 individuals if they do not return to the country and face charges against them. The Interior Ministry’s list also included Gülen, who is accused of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup attempt.
“Turkey’s right to judge [Gülen] is reserved under all circumstances and dismissal of this right is out of question. It [the loss of Gülen’s citizenship] is not an obstacle to his extradition and provisional arrest,” Bozdağ told reporters in parliament.
He also said Turkey would not give up on its quest to extradite Gülen from the U.S. to Turkey.
“The main agenda of Turkey-U.S. relations is now the provisional arrest of FETÖ [Fethullahist Terror Organization] leader and his return to Turkey.
“We will bring the FETÖ leader back to Turkey sooner or later and put him on trial,” Bozdağ said.
Gülen, who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999, has been charged by Turkish prosecutors with forming an armed terrorist organization as well as with orchestrating the attempted takeover.
Ankara has accused Gülen and his FETÖ network of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.