Ankara (TM) – Four political parties in the Turkish parliament issued a joint statement on Friday calling for the extradition from the US of Turkish-Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the İYİ (Good) Party said the US should take the necessary steps as soon as possible for Gülen’s extradition to Turkey.
Only the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) dissented.
Erdoğan accuses Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US for almost two decades, of masterminding the failed coup, which claimed the lives of 249 people, although Gülen strongly denies any involvement in the abortive putsch.
The US has thus far rebuffed repeated Turkish requests to turn over the cleric, with President Donald Trump saying in November that the extradition was “not under consideration.”
Gülen called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
The requested extradition of Gülen is one of several issues that have strained the relationship between the two NATO allies.
This post was originally written for and published by Turkish Minute and appears here with permission.