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Iran Press TV

Turkish, US justice officials discuss extradition of Gulen

Iran Press TV

Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:26PM

Justice officials from Turkey and the United States have opened discussions on a demand by Ankara for the extradition of US-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, blamed by the Turkish government for the failed mid-July coup.

Turkey's Justice Ministry said its officials opened talks Tuesday with officials from the US departments of justice and state in the capital Ankara.

Details of the talks are yet to be released.

An anonymous Justice Department official told Reuters on August 20 that US officials would fly to Turkey to investigate accusations against the Turkish preacher.

"US officials, including representatives of the departments of justice and state, have offered to consult with the Turkish government," the official said, adding, "We can confirm that a delegation (with) representatives of the departments of justice and state will visit Turkey."

Istanbul prosecutor's office on August 13 sent a letter to Washington calling for the detention of Gulen.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on the same day that Washington's attitude toward the extradition of Gulen has improved since July 15.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also said that Ankara has sent "eighty-five boxes of files" to Washington to prove the allegation of Gulen's involvement in the abortive coup.

Turkish prosecutors have recently demanded two life sentences and an additional 1,900 years in prison for Gulen.

The so-called Fethullah Terror Organization (FETO) has been accused of infiltrating state archives through its members in the state institutions and intelligence units.

Turkish state media say the group has used media outlets, foundations, private schools, companies, student dormitories and insurance companies to serve its purpose of taking control of all state institutions. FETO has also collected funds from businessmen in the name of "donations" and transferred the money to the United States by means of front companies.

Earlier this month, Turkish authorities issued an arrest warrant for Gulen, who denies the allegations against him and argues that the blame game could be a ploy by the ruling Justice and Development Party to cement its grip on power in Turkey.

Washington has so far refused to extradite Gulen, saying it needs evidence of his involvement in the abortive coup.

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