by WorldTribune Staff, August 15, 2016
Turkish officials have said that finally the U.S. is sending “positive signals” on the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara said engineered the July 15 coup attempt.
“We have started to receive some positive signals on the calls we have made,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara, saying further documents relating to the case for Gulen’s deportation were being drawn up to send to Washington.
The U.S. position has long been that it would need solid evidence, which had not earlier been received, before acting against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rival who lives in Pennsylvania.
Gulen said on Aug. 12 that he would only hand himself over to Turkish authorities if an independent international investigative body first found him guilty.
“If a tenth of the accusations against me are established, I pledge to return to Turkey and serve the heaviest sentence,” the 75-year-old cleric said in an opinion piece in French daily Le Monde.
Gulen, who denies any involvement in the coup and has condemned it, said he believed the Turkish justice system is now controlled by the country’s executive arm led by Erdogan.
Turkey purged tens of thousands of Gulen’s suspected followers from the armed forces after the failed coup as well as suspected followers from other state institutions, the media and academia.
Ankara claims it has sent several documents to the United States which it claims proves that Gulen was involved in the coup.
“Everyone in the world knows who is behind this coup attempt,” Cavusoglu said, adding that an arrest warrant was issued in Turkey last week for Gulen.