US ready to work and discuss Gülen’s extradition: Ambassador
ANKARAUnited States officials are prepared to work and discuss with their Turkish counterparts on Turkey’s demand of the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, U.S. Ambassador to Ankara John Bass has said, categorically denying claims that Washington played a role in staging the coup attempt on July 15.
“With regard to the question of possible involvement in the coup attempt by persons residing in the United States – we have been clear that the United States would be willing to provide assistance to Turkish authorities conducting their investigation into the coup attempt. If Turkey decides to submit an extradition request for anyone legally resident in the United States, it will be considered under the terms of the U.S.-Turkey extradition agreement,” Bass said in a written statement on July 18.
“To that end, U.S. Government officials in the U.S. and in Turkey, including representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice, are prepared to work with their counterparts and to discuss what will be required to meet the legal and evidentiary standards set by our bilateral extradition treaty. I underscore that our extradition treaty and U.S. laws have specific requirements that must be met before a suspect individual can be transferred to another nation’s jurisdiction,” he added.
Bass applauds Turkish people’s resolve
Bass also stressed that the coup attempt was “deeply disturbing” for everyone.
“We join our Turkish friends in mourning the tragic loss of life caused by attempts to violently overthrow Turkey’s democratically-elected government. Coups have no place in a modern democratic society. I applaud the Turkish nation’s resolve against this violent intervention and their support for democratic institutions,” he said.
The ambassador recalled that the highest levels of the U.S. government had categorically expressed a strong position as Turkey’s ally in the early hours of the coup attempt, with President Barack Obama one of the first leaders urging support for the democratically-elected government.
“Some news reports – and, unfortunately, some public figures – have speculated that the United States in some way supported the coup attempt. This is categorically untrue and such speculation is harmful to the decades-long friendship between two great nations,” Bass said.
‘Fabricated news aim to hurt Turkey-US ties’
The ambassador also draw attention to the fact that some pro-Gülen social media users were trying to “hurt Turkish-American relations” by attributing false statements on him.
“I am aware that false words, attributed to me, are currently being circulated on social media, largely by users who appear to be sympathetic to Fethullah Gulen, suggesting a lack of respect for Turkey’s democratically elected government. That purported statement is an absolute fabrication that appears designed to heighten tension between the United States and Turkey and undermine Turkey’s security,” he stressed.
‘US does not try to undermine Turkish security’
Bass reiterated that ties between Turkey and U.S. are close and strong, and “rejected the narrative that suggests the United States is trying to undermine Turkish security and prevent Turkey from being a strong, successful country.”
“Our alliance shows that we have continually invested in Turkey, in its security and its prosperity, and that we remain committed to helping everyone in this country realize a future in which Turkey and the Turkish people are strong and prosperous,” he said.