US ‘awaiting evidence’ from Turkey over Gülen’s links to murder of Russian envoy Karlov
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
The United States is awaiting evidence from Turkey over U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen’s alleged links to the 2016 assassination of Russian Ambassador to Ankara Andrei Karlov, and will consider an extradition request accordingly, Justice Department spokesperson Nicole Navas Oxman has said.
“We will review any materials the Turkish government may provide in this regard and will make any decisions about extradition on the basis or the facts and relevant U.S. laws,” Oxman told Russian state-run news agency Tass on April 2.
Karlov was assassinated on Dec. 19, 2016 by off-duty police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş.
Karlov was delivering a speech at the Contemporary Arts Gallery in Ankara’s central Çankaya district when the assassin opened fire on the diplomat, critically wounding him. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Altıntaş was killed in a subsequent shootout with police in the gallery.
The assassination occurred at a time when Turkish-Russian relations were being restored.
An official Turkish investigation has linked Altıntaş to the Gülen movement, referred to by the authorities as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which is accused of orchestrating the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Turkish prosecutors have also claimed that Altıntaş personally knew Gülen. Five people, including three police officers, were arrested in a probe into Karlov’s killing.