Turkish, US officials begin work on Gülen case
REUTERS photoLegal experts and diplomats from Turkey and the United States have initiated work on the former’s demand for the immediate extradition of Fethullah Gülen from the U.S., a day before U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is set to pay a one-day visit to Turkey.
Three officials from the U.S. Department of Justice and a representative from the U.S. State Department arrived in Ankara late Aug. 22 and begun working with their Turkish counterparts early Aug. 23, the Anadolu Agency reported. The U.S. delegation was being hosted by the Justice Ministry’s International Law and Foreign Affairs Directorate, the agency said.
Turkish officials will provide comprehensive information to the visiting delegation on four separate cases that have already been sent to the U.S. for the extradition of Gülen, the leader of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which was blamed for the July 15 coup attempt. The documents sent to the U.S. were about charges imposed on the self-exiled cleric before the July 15 incident.
The Turkish officials will also provide evidence intending to show that the July 15 coup attempt had been staged upon the command and under the leadership of Gülen and aimed to overthrow the democratically-elected Turkish government by force.
The visit of the U.S. delegation was suggested by Washington in reply to Turkey’s insistent calls for the immediate detention of Gülen to prevent him from fleeing the U.S.
As the technical teams continue their work, Biden will pay a one-day visit to Ankara on Aug. 24 to reiterate his administration’s support to the Turkish government in the aftermath of the coup attempt. The number two of the U.S. administration will land in Ankara in the early morning and go to the Turkish parliament to visit the sites bombed by Turkish warplanes flown by coup plotters on the night of July 15. He will hold a meeting with Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman before holding extensive talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.
The main issues Turkey will raise to Biden will be the extradition of Gülen, the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the need to stop the advance of Democratic Union Party (PYD) forces towards the eastern Euphrates. Turkey sees the PYD as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and has called on the U.S. to end its cooperation with the group.