May 18 2018

No proper extradition request sent for Gülen, says opposition candidate

The Turkish Republic has failed to send any suitable extradition request to the United States for Fethullah Gülen, the Islamist cleric accused of plotting the failed July 2016 coup attempt, main opposition Republic People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce said during a call to CNN Türk on Thursday.

The fate of Gülen, who lives in self-exile in a huge compound in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, has become a main point of contention between Turkey and its NATO allies in the United States.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) allege that the Islamist preacher is the head of a terrorist organisation that seeks to overthrow the Turkish government, and has repeatedly announced its delivery of extradition requests to U.S. authorities.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey would reject all extradition requests from the United States until Gülen is handed over, and even suggested the fate of U.S. evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who is being held on terror charges in Turkey, is linked to Gülen’s extradition.

Yet, according to İnce’s comments to CNN Türk host Hande Firat on Thursday, which he said were based on a phone call from U.S. sources, “no suitable application for Gülen’s extradition has been made.”

“I ask the president, has a suitable extradition request been made or not,” said İnce.

AKP officials quickly hit back at İnce for the statement, with government spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ accusing the CHP’s candidate of being manipulated by a “liar” from the United States in remarks on Twitter.