Washington’s foot-dragging on Gülen extradition unacceptable - Turkish justice minister

Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül on Wednesday blasted the United States over what he called the delay in efforts to extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara accuses of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt.

“There should have been a step taken by now, in line with international agreements and agreements signed between the two countries. It is not possible for us to accept that there is still no development on this matter,” pro-government A Haber quoted Gül as saying during a press conference following a meeting with his U.S. counterpart William Barr in Washington.

Ankara maintains that Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, masterminded the 2016 attempted coup that led to the deaths of more than 250 people and has designated his Gülen movement a terrorist organisation. 

Gülen, a former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, denies involvement in the failed putsch.

Turkey has sent 4 different extradition requests to U.S. counterparts, while pursuing a worldwide crackdown on followers of Gülen.

The meeting between the ministers marked the seventh convention of Turkish and U.S. delegations for Gülen’s extradition.

“It is our expectation that there will be positive developments on this matter,‘’ Gül said, underlining that Turkey had submitted new evidence of Gülen’s involvement in the coup attempt.

“I want to believe that that there will be more sensible effort on this matter during this time. We are following this process together closely,‘’ the minister noted, adding, "We want the extradition to take place and the demands of Turkish judicial authorities to be fulfilled.”