Turkish minister says more evidence given to US for Gülen extradition
ISTANBULJustice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has said he has submitted more evidence to his U.S. counterpart for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen during a meeting in Washington.
“During yesterday’s visit [to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch], we submitted three folders containing additional information and documents requested by the U.S.,” Bozdağ said during a news conference at the Turkish Embassy in Washington on Sept. 27.
He stressed that Turkey made the first extradition request last July for Gülen, the Pennsylvania-based preacher who is the main suspect behind the July 15 coup attempt, “within the framework and standards of the law.”
Bozdağ also stated that his ministry had received intelligence that Gülen might seek refuge in a third country – particularly referring to Canada, Brazil, Belgium and Norway - claiming that preparations had been carried out in these countries for the preacher’s arrival.
Meanwhile, both Turkish and U.S. sources have told daily Hürriyet that at present it is up to the U.S. courts to decide on the extradition, which has been heavily pressed by Turkey.
Sources from both sides suggest the process would properly begin in January 2017, after U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office.
Turkish sources linked this to “political reasons,” while U.S. sources cited “technical requirements.”
In another meeting in the U.S. capital on Oct. 28, Bozdağ said the upcoming U.S. presidential election and subsequent administrative change in Washington should not affect the process to extradite Gülen toTurkey.
Bozdağ also claimed that the structuring of the organization led by Gülen, the infiltration of which into Turkish state institutions became clear in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt, could have been ongoing for 18 years in the United States, warning that if the U.S. authorities do not take any measures the organization would only grow stronger.
During an hour-and-a-half long meeting between Bozdağ and Lynch, the only issue discussed other than Gülen’s extradition was the ongoing U.S. prosecution of Turkish–Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who faces a jail term in the country on charges of money laundering and attempting to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.