Jun 12 2018

U.S. must extradite Gülen – CHP leader contradicts pres. candidate

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has contradicted his own party’s presidential candidate to demand the extradition of Islamist cleric Fethullah Gülen from the United States.

The Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) accuses Gülen of orchestrating a series of attempts to overthrow the government, culminating in the failed July 2016 coup attempt. AKP officials say they have submitted multiple extradition requests for Gülen since then, but have been turned down.

Muharrem İnce, the CHP’s candidate in the upcoming Jun. 24 presidential election, has on several occasions questioned whether the AKP’s requests were valid.

At the beginning of his campaign, İnce quoted unnamed U.S. sources he said had told him the extradition requests were faulty, and his comments last week suggested that a CHP committee allowed to examine the requests had come to the same conclusion.

Kılıçdaroğlu, however, appeared to think differently, saying the CHP committee’s report showed that the extradition requests were fundamentally sound.

“There were a few procedural faults, but these weren’t terribly important. According to this document, the United States should extradite Gülen,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

The CHP leader risked casting a shadow over İnce’s impressive campaign performance by saying  that both of them had received the same report from the CHP committee.