Turkish opposition figure Fethullah Gulen (file photo by AFP)
The Turkish government has sent an official request to the United States demanding the arrest of Pennsylvania-based opposition figure Fethullah Gulen on charges of “ordering” the failed July 15 coup d'état in Turkey.
The Turkish Justice Ministry sent the request to the US last week and called for the provisional arrest of Gueln, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported on Tuesday.
The ministry had formally requested Gulen’s extradition in June by sending four separate files to the US State Department, the Department of the Interior, and the Justice Department.
The Turkish government has also previously sent alleged evidence of the cleric’s involvement in the coup to the US.
Gulen has repeatedly denied the allegation, and had even issued a statement hours into the coup condemning the putsch.
Washington has so far refused to extradite the Turkish cleric, saying it needs “genuine evidence that withstands the standard of scrutiny.”
US President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in China, September 4, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
At least 246 people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries when an army faction, using helicopters and tanks, clashed with government troops and people on the streets of Ankara and Istanbul in an attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 15.
Last month Erdogan reiterated his request for Gulen’s extradition and warned that the White House must make a choice between Turkey and the cleric.
He also discussed the issue with President Barack Obama earlier this month at the G20 summit in China, where Obama said any decision to be made about Gulen would have to be a legal, not a political, one, according to a senior US administration official.