Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, on August 10, 2016. © AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the United States to extradite US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen blamed by Ankara for the failed military coup in the country last month.
Addressing thousands of government supporters outside the presidential palace in the capital Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan said Washington must make a choice between Turkey and Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of having led a “terrorist” organization of putschists in Turkey.
“Sooner or later, the United States will make a choice. Either Turkey or FETO. They will either choose the putschist terrorist FETO or Turkey, the democratic country. They need to make a choice,” Erdogan said.
He said that Turkey has sent “eighty five boxes of files” to Washington to prove Gulen’s alleged role in the failed coup.
Washington has so far refused to return Gulen to Turkey, saying it needs evidence of his involvement in the military revolt.

US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen © AP

Gulen has repeatedly denied any role in the coup and warned that the blame game could be a ploy by the ruling Justice and Development Party to cement its grip on power.
At least 246 people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries when an army faction, using hijacked helicopters and tanks, clashed with government troops and people on the streets of Ankara and the city of Istanbul on July 15.
Turkey has launched a sweeping crackdown on alleged coup plotters. Over 60,000 people have been sacked from their jobs, detained or put under investigation for suspected links to the coup or the Gulen movement.
Last week, an Istanbul-based court issued an arrest warrant for Gulen, with prosecutors accusing the opposition figure of having ordered the coup attempt.

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