Turkey strongly expects Gülen's extradition from US: FM Çavuşoğlu
AA photoTurkey’s foreign minister has reiterated Ankara’s call on U.S. authorities to extradite Pennsylvania-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, accused of orchestrating the deadly coup attempt on July 15, saying Washington’s decision may shape bilateral relations in the future.
“Gülen’s activities have jeopardized the stability and constitutional order of NATO ally Turkey,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu wrote in an article published by Al Jazeera on July 26, adding Gülen’s extradition was “the strongest expectation of the people of Turkey from the U.S.”
Turkey accuses Gülen, who had been a close ally of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) until recently, of infiltrating public institutions and creating a “parallel state” with the aim of toppling the country’s democratically-elected government. Gülen has been residing in the U.S. since 1999.
Underlining that Gülen continued to finance his operations by running charter schools across the United States, Çavuşoğlu stressed that supporting the scholar would inhibit relations between Washington and Ankara.
“The position of the U.S. on this vital matter may shape the future relations of the two key allies,” he said. “Any support rendered to Gülen and his terrorist organization does not comply with the spirit of cooperation between Turkey and the U.S.”
“We expect the U.S. authorities to show solidarity with its NATO ally Turkey and take immediate action in restricting the activities of Gülen as well as his network, and extradite him to Turkey,” Çavuşoğlu said.
The U.S. recently made an offer to form a working group composed of officials from its foreign affairs and justice departments in order to assist Turkey in preparing its formal request for Gülen’s extradition.
For its part Washington demanded “solid evidence” linking Gülen directly to the coup plot instead of allegations. Turkey’s request would need to include information that “specifically links the individual to the events that occurred,” U.S. State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby said on July 21.
The Turkish government has sought the extradition of Gülen for over two years, but this was the first time a formal request had been made on the issue which has strained Turkish-American ties.
A spokesperson for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times which was published on July 25, warning Washington against permitting Gülen to exploit its laws.