U.S. prosecutors to arrive in Turkey for cooperation on Gülen extradition - Turkish minister
The United States has not officially rejected Turkey’s request for the extradition of a cleric Ankara accuses of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt and there is ongoing contact with U.S. officials for cooperation on the matter, Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said on Sunday.
“As the state of law, we are hoping for this terror group head to be extradited. In Turkey, death penalty does not exist. We have been saying [to U.S. officials] that there is no obstacle for the extradition to take place,” the minister said in reference to Fethullah Gülen and his followers during a program on pro-government CNN Türk TV.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, says Gülen is the head of a terrorist organisation that seeks to overthrow the Turkish government, and has repeatedly announced it has sent extradition requests to U.S. authorities while pursuing a worldwide crackdown on followers of Gülen.
Gülen who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since 1999, denies the charges levelled at him by Ankara.
“Our demand [for Gülen’s extradition] is not officially rejected. We send new evidence the the United States as we find it. Administrative and criminal investigations are ongoing. They [the United States] are conducting investigation as well,’’ he added.
A U.S. delegation consisting of prosecutors will come to Turkey next month, Gül said, stressing that 4,000 prosecutors were dismissed from their duties over their links with the Gülen movement.
Gülen’s extradition has been one of the numerous sources of tension over the past few years between Washington and Ankara.
U.S. President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart Erdoğan that his administration was working on the 77-year-old cleric during the G20 summit in Argentina on Dec. 1.