Turkey expects 'concrete steps' on Gulen extradition

Turkey expects 'concrete steps' on extradition of US-based cleric accused of orchestrating failed coup
2 min read
16 December, 2018
The status of Fethullah Gulen - the cleric accused by Ankara of masterminding the failed 2016 coup - was reportedly discussed by the US and Turkey in Buenos Aires.
Fethullah Gulen [R] is wanted by Turkey for allegedly orchestrating the failed 2016 coup [Getty]

Turkey's foreign minister on Sunday expressed impatience with the US for not extraditing a cleric accused by Ankara of masterminding a failed coup in 2016.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a trip to Qatar that Turkey has demanded the return of 84 suspects from the US, including cleric Fethullah Gulen who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania and has denied involvement in the failed putsch.

Cavusoglu says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump discussed Gulen's status on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina two weeks ago.

"When we met in Buenos Aires, President Trump told Erdogan that they have been working on that, but we need to see concrete steps because it has been already more than two years," the minister said.

US-Turkish relations have recently been strained, but warmed slightly after Ankara's release in October of American pastor Andrew Brunson. 

The fate of Gulen - who has denied any involvement in the attempted coup in Turkey and whom Washington has repeatedly refused to extradite - remains a central point of tension between the two NATO allies.

Gulen's teachings inspired the growth of a moderate, pro-Western Islamic movement that includes scores of schools, hospitals and businesses worldwide.

He left Turkey for the US in the 1990s after being accused of calling for the overthrow of the government.