Turkey: As our ally, US should quickly extradite Gulen

By Ayşenur Saglam, Ayşe Bocuoglu Bodur and Seval Ocak Adıyaman

ANKARA (AA) – A top Turkish official Sunday urged Washington to act as a faithful ally to Turkey by quickly executing the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the expatriate cleric accused of being behind Friday’s failed coup in Turkey.

“If we are two allied countries working in coordination politically and militarily, what is expected from this strategic partnership is that the U.S. not remain insensitive anymore to [Gulen’s] extradition request,” Deputy PM Numan Kurtulmus told CNN Turk TV.

Gulen is the number one suspect in investigations following the attempted coup, judicial sources told Anadolu Agency on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking with the media.

“This is a new situation, a new phase,” Kurtulmus said, accusing the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO) of illegally usurping the state’s weapons and “not hesitating to use them against the public.”

Kurtulmus said an extradition request would be “rapidly” prepared by Ankara and that Turkey expects results.

He called on Turkey’s “American friends to understand what we feel” and “perform the return as soon as possible.”

Friday’s attempted takeover is said to have been organized by followers of Gulen, who is accused of pursuing a long-running campaign to overthrow the government through supporters within the Turkish state, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming the so-called “parallel state.”

On Friday night, rogue elements of the military attempted to overthrow Turkey’s democratically elected government. Around 160 people were martyred in the ensuing violence.

Some 2,839 military personnel involved in the coup attempt have been arrested, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including some senior officers, were killed in the attempt to overthrow the government.

Dismissing Gulen’s public denials that he was behind the coup attempt, Kurtulmus said, “That means he is trying to save himself.”

“That night [of the attempted coup] such things were done that would not even occur to the Devil,” Kurtulmus said, adding: “God saved the nation, the nation saved itself.”