Turkish PM demands Gülen’s extradition from US top soldier
AP photoTurkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has reiterated Turkey’s demand for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen from the United States during a meeting with top U.S. soldier Joseph Dunford, who paid a snap visit to Ankara amid a growing rift between Ankara and Washington.
According to sources at the office of the prime minister, Yıldırım described the July 15 coup attempt that was allegedly orchestrated by the Fethullah Gülen organization as the gravest threat to the Turkish people and Turkish democracy.
As such, the support the U.S. would pledge to Turkey and its democracy by openly rejecting the coup is very important to Turkey, Yıldırım told Dunford, according to the sources.
Yıldırım assured the top American soldier that the struggle against the members of this group and coup plotters would be conducted in line with the principles of the rule of law, while repeating Turkey’s demand for the extradition of Gülen.
The prime minister also related the recent changes in the structure of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and underlined that the Turkish military’s fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as well as cooperation with the U.S. and allies, had been continuing without interruption.
Turkey’s sensitivities on Syria
At the meeting, Yıldırım shared Turkey’s sensitivities with regard to the activities of the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and ongoing struggle to remove ISIL from Turkey’s border.
“Our prime minister also expressed Turkey’s belief that the framework of the strategic relationship between Turkey and the U.S. referred to a joint strong will in the fight against regional and international security and stability and to overcome any sort of challenge while expressing the Turkish expectations from the U.S. in taking the necessary steps to this end,” a source said.
Dunford condemns coup attempt
At the same meeting, Dunford underlined that he condemned the coup attempt in the strongest terms and was paying the visit to show his country’s solidarity with the Turkish people and government. Dunford reiterated the support of his administration to Turkish democracy and the willingness to continue to work with Turkish authorities in the military and other fields.
Akar: I am the evidence
Dunford staged a separate meeting with Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar on Aug. 1 while also paying a visit to the Turkish Parliament which was bombed by the plotters on July 15.
According to Turkish media, Akar told Dunford, “What evidence? I am the evidence,” in regard to the U.S. request for concrete evidence as to Gülen’s involvement in the coup attempt before it will accede to any Turkish demand for his extradition from the U.S.