Jun 09 2018

Opposition candidate says the Gülen extradition file has large holes

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate for the upcoming elections in Turkey on June 24 announced the findings of CHP delegation which reviewed the documents sent by Turkey to the United States for the extradition of sect leader Fethullah Gülen on Saturday.

Fethullah Gülen, a preacher in self-imposed exile in the United States, is the leader of a religious movement that stands accused of carrying out a July 2016 military coup attempt in Turkey. The U.S. failure to extradite Gülen is a major bone a contention that has helped sour relations between the two NATO allies.

In the beginning of his election campaign, İnce claimed that some American sources had told him that the Turkish case for Gülen’s extradition was full of holes and was not done properly according to the U.S laws and regulations. Following the claim, the Turkish government allowed a CHP delegation made up of two party members and two legal experts to examine the documents at the Turkish Justice Department which were sent to the U.S.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government officials repeatedly said that the government sent documents in 85 boxes to the U.S. “Despite the claims that 85 boxes filled with documents were sent, there are only 27 boxes,” İnce said during a live interview on NTV, on Saturday night. According to İnce, the documents in 27 folders includes 7 cases against Gülen and his movement, and four of those cases were related to events that took place before the coup attempt in July of 2016.

Ince also claimed that some of the accusations included in the files going back to 2011 whereas many of AKP deputies and other officials were visiting Gulen in the U.S. as recent as in 2013. İnce argued that the said fact damages the credibility of the government's accusations against Gülen.

Ince also, for the first time, stated that some of those extradition files arrived at the Turkish Justice Ministry in early 2016, 6 or 7 months before the attempted coup on July 15, 2016. 

President Erdogan and his Justice Minister have insisted that everything was done properly with regards to the extradition case but the U.S. government officials have been taking it slow and behaving irresponsibly.

The U.S. Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment to Ahval on May 17 when asked questions on the extradition saga.