Turkish justice minister pens letter to US counterpart over Gülen extradition
Oya Armutçu - ANKARAJustice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has penned a letter to his U.S. counterpart Jeff Sessions regarding the extradition of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, accused of masterminding Turkey’s failed July 2016 coup attempt.
In his letter, Bozdağ reiterated Ankara’s expectation from Washington over the extradition of Gülen, Justice Ministry sources told daily Hürriyet.
He also said Gülen’s extradition would greatly contribute to the advancement of bilateral relations.
Bozdağ recalled that Ankara had already demanded the temporary arrest of Gülen, followed by his extradition, and had sent additional documents supporting the request as a part of a new initiative with the Trump administration.
According to Bozdağ, among the additional evidence of Gülen’s involvement in the coup attempt was the testimony of an anonymous witness codenamed “Şapka” claiming that the coup plan had been sent to the U.S. by Adil Öksüz, one of the prime suspects, after being prepared in a villa in Ankara under Gülen’s instruction.
The Turkish justice minister stressed that the speedy conclusion of Gülen’s temporary arrest and extradition process is in compliance with the bilateral agreements.
In the letter, Bozdağ also congratulated Sessions on his post in the new U.S. administration under President Donald Trump, voicing Ankara’s expectation for the continuation of friendly relationships between the two countries during his term.
At Washington’s request, Turkey presented evidence to the U.S. demanding Gülen’s extradition. A U.S. delegation visited Turkey at the end of August 2016 and reviewed those documents while Bozdağ also went to the U.S. to discuss the issue in October 2016.