British judge unlikely to approve Turkish tycoon’s extradition over coup link claims - analysis

A British judge is unlikely to approve the extradition of a Turkish tycoon who will appear before a London court on Tuesday to contest Ankara’s demand for his extradition over alleged links to Turkey’s  2016 attempt, the Financial Times said.

Fifty-four year old businessman İpek, who fled to London in 2015, is accused by the government of being a member of and providing financial support to the the Gülen movement, which Ankara holds responsible for the July 2016 putsch that left 250 people dead and thousands injured.

İpek’s case is a rare example of ‘’Turkey’s fraught domestic political battles coming under the scrutiny of a court in an EU member state,’’ the Financial Times noted, adding that it is posing a challenge for UK prime minister Theresa May’s government, which has recently strengthened ties with Turkey.

“The courts are entitled to refuse [extradition] either because they believe the proceedings are motivated by political considerations or because he would not receive a fair trial in Turkey,” the Financial Times quoted Andrew Smith, an extradition specialist at the law firm Corker Binning, as saying.

Turkey’s large numbers of “arbitrary detentions and dismissals” are a serious violation of human rights according to a March report by the UN’s human rights commissioner.

While Ipek, who ran several gold mines, a media company and a luxury hotel, does not deny his affiliation to Fethullah Gulen, the leader of the Gulen movement, he denies the accusation supporting or funding the organisation.

While his lawyers are expected to argue that the charges against him are politically motivated, the Financial Times noted, his extradition will most likey be denied on grounds that he cannot face a fair trial in Turkey where over 50,000 people have been jailed and more than 150,000 sacked or suspended from their jobs in post-coup shake down.