Turkish justice minister heads to US for Gülen extradition talks

Turkish justice minister heads to US for Gülen extradition talks

Turkish justice minister heads to US for Gülen extradition talks

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Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, accompanied by lawmakers from opposition parties, departed to the United States on Oct. 25 to hold talks on Turkey’s demand for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, the Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher accused of orchestrating the failed July 15 military coup. 

“Our relations with the U.S. should not be damaged because of a terrorist,” Bozdağ said before he left Turkey, adding that he will introduce new evidence to his U.S. counterparts for the extradition of Gülen.

“What we want is to not bring ties between the U.S. and Turkey to a negative point just because of a terrorist … Whatever Osama Bin Laden means for the U.S., Fethullah Gülen means for Turkey,” he added. 

“For us, the file includes more than enough evidence for [Gülen’s] extradition to Turkey. When you compare the extradition and provisional arrest requests made of Turkey to date - not only by the U.S. but also all other countries - the extradition file and the provisional arrest demand files for Gülen are the fullest in terms of validity,” Bozdağ said. 

He also recalled that Turkey has already submitted to U.S. officials four files and conveyed an official request for Gülen’s detention by the authorities.  

During Bozdağ’s four-day visit to the U.S., he is also due to attend a panel discussion on the July 15 coup attempt organized by the pro-government Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) think tank and he will also inaugurate state-run Anadolu Agency’s photo exhibit on “The Rise of the National Will” in Washington.           

US wants to get rid of Gülen: Çavuşoğlu

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told broadcaster Kanal 24 on Oct. 25 that U.S. officials “want to get rid of Gülen but don’t want to extradite him to Turkey.” 

“They tell us, ‘We want to get rid of him.’ We tell them, ‘Give him to us then.’ But they don’t want to hand him over,” Çavuşoğlu stated. 

In the same interview he also said the government still does not know the whereabouts of the fugitive coup leader Adil Öksüz, for whom a 4 million Turkish Lira reward has been declared.