Turkey Wants US to Extradite Fethullah Gulen, His 83 Supporters

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  • U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen. Image: AP

    U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen. Image: AP

    TEMPO.CO, Ankara - The Turkish government has given a list of 84 members of the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) to the United States government. Turkey`s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said his country wants the US to extradite the terrorists.

    Cavusoglu said he had given the list to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when they met in Washington DC on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

    The list of names included Fethullah Gulen, who was accused of being the leader of FETO. Gulen has denied being involved in a failed coup attempt in 2016.

    Cavusoglu said that Donald Trump had asked the Turkish government to submit this list of names when he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently.

    "I have given the list to Pompeo and John Bolton," Cavusoglu said. Bolton is a national security advisor at the White House.

    Last week, NBC News reported that the White House is looking for ways to extradite Gulen in a bid to defuse tensions between the Turks and Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the United States. This comes in light of the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

    Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 by a team of assassins sent by Saudi's General Intelligence Presidency (GIP). This led to the dismissal of the GIP's former deputy chief, Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri.

    President Trump responded to Turkey's request for Gulen's extradition by saying that he hasn’t considered it yet. Trump said that Erdogan is a close friend of his and that he is a "strong, firm and intelligent man. So whatever we can do—we will do. But for now? No".  

    The relationship between America and Turkey had soured after Ankara refused to release a priest who was allegedly involved in the 2016 coup attempt. However, they got friendly again after Turkey released Father Andrew Brunson some time ago.