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Afp

Turkey requests extradition of 84 members of cleric's movement

By AFP
media Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, left shakes hands with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Washington GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday gave US officials a list of 84 members of Fethullah Gulen's movement -- including the cleric himself -- whose extradition Ankara is requesting.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames Gulen -- whom he once regarded as an ally -- for the July 15, 2016 failed coup plot against him, but calls for his extradition have so far been unsuccessful.

Turkey's chief diplomat said he did not receive any "assurances" after meeting with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo and national security advisor John Bolton during a visit to Washington.

"But we have given this list of the people that we request the US to extradite," Cavusoglu said.

President Donald Trump "asked Erdogan to send that list and I gave that list to both Pompeo and ambassador Bolton," he said.

Trump said Saturday that he had no plans to extradite Gulen, who strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

"It's not under consideration," Trump told reporters, while also saying that Erdogan is "a friend of mine. He's a strong man, a tough man and a smart man, so whatever we can do, we'll do... but at this point? No."

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

The fate of Gulen remains a central point of tension between the countries.

NBC News has reported that the White House was seeking ways to extradite Gulen in a bid to reduce Turkish pressure on Saudi Arabia over the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

Following his disappearance on October 2, Turkish officials kept up a steady stream of leaks on the gory details of Khashoggi's killing, even as Saudi Arabia denied involvement. The kingdom eventually branded the murder a "rogue" operation.

 
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