By Kemal Karadag
The extradition of
The White House is exploring legal methods of extraditing Gulen to Turkey in order to soften Turkish pressure on Riyadh over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, NBC News reported Thursday.
Khashoggi, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, was killed Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
After weeks of denying any involvement in the crime, Saudi Arabia later admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of any plot to murder the journalist.
His body has yet to be returned to his family amid reports that it was chemically dissolved.
However, the report by NBC News was rejected by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
"We have received multiple requests from the Turkish government [related to Gulen's extradition]," Nauert said.
"We continue to evaluate the material that the Turkish government presents requesting his extradition," she stated.
Nauert added that there is no relation between Gulen's extradition and the Khashoggi case.
Four days after July 15, 2016 -- when
The U.S. has to send seven extradition files kept on hold in the Department of Justice to its judicial authorities.
These files include evidence against Gulen about the defeated coup attempt and earlier offenses.
FETO, led by Gulen, orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
FETO leader's extradition process
There were many official talks held between Turkey and the U.S. since July 15,
Turkey's Justice Ministry launched works for his extradition after the defeated coup attempt.
On July 19, 2016, the Turkish ministry sent four separate files to the U.S. on Gulen to officially kickstart the process. Turkey requested the U.S. to arrest him immediately.
Then a Turkish office within the Justice Ministry, the Directorate General for International Law and Foreign Relations, sent a written document to the U.S. about the provisional arrest of Gulen.
On Aug. 7, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to Turkey about talks on Gulen's extradition.
This letter invited a Turkish delegation from the Justice Ministry to visit the U.S. or a U.S. delegation could go to Turkey for talks.
The Turkish Justice Ministry responded to this letter saying that a U.S. delegation could
17-hour talks with the US
On 22-23 Aug. 2016, a four-person U.S. delegation from the Departments of Justice and State came to Ankara to hold meetings with Turkish Ministry of Justice officials.
Over the total 17 hours of meetings, the officials held detailed discussions on evidence regarding the failed coup, Gulen’s role in its planning and implementation, and his extradition to Turkey.
Upon the emergence of new incriminating evidence against FETO, the Turkish Ministry of Justice initiated a new push for Gulen’s provisional arrest, forwarding its first request to the Justice Department on Oct. 10.
The request called for Gulen’s arrest on the grounds that he masterminded the coup, with charges including founding an armed terror organization,
Turkey’s then-justice minister went on the first of two trips to Washington on Oct. 27,
He met then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch to convey the sensitivity of the issue for Turkey and that Gulen had given the order to carry out the coup.
In January 2017, Turkey forwarded the details of alleged FETO “air force imam” Adil Oksuz’s visits to the U.S. just before the July 15 coup attempt to the Justice Department.
The indictment prepared by Turkey’s judiciary regarding Gulen’s prominent role in the botched coup as well as the testimonies of two secret witnesses were also submitted to U.S. officials.
After Donald Trump was elected as president of the United States, Turkey's then-Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag informed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the extradition process for Gulen in a letter he sent in
In a phone conversation held with Sessions on March 22, 2017, Bozdag said that Gulen should be extradited to Turkey.
Bozdag also met with U.S. officials ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the country on May 15-17, 2017.
Meeting with Sessions during his visit to Washington on May 8, Bozdag gave him information on the new documents showing that the coup attempt was plotted on Gulen’s order.
A delegation headed by Assistant General Director of Law and Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Justice Faris Karak -- who accompanied Bozdag during his U.S. visit – also met with a U.S. delegation.
The delegation shared information with U.S. officials on Gulen and FETO during a 10-hour meeting spread over two days.
Gulen’s extradition was also raised during the meeting between Erdogan and Trump in Washington on May 15-17, 2017.
Yildirim also meets US officials
Parliament Speaker Binali Yildirim,
Yildirim stressed that Turkey was ready to show every kind of cooperation to the U.S. administration over Gulen’s extradition.
New extradition demands
Abdulhamit Gul -- who became the justice minister in July 2017 -- also held talks on Gulen’s extradition.
Turkey has continued submitting new evidence to the U.S. and making extradition demands after Gul became the justice minister. He also accompanied Erdogan during his visit to the U.S. last September.
The last file on Gulen’s extradition was sent to the U.S. on Nov. 3, 2017, bringing the number to seven.
A file on Erdogan assassination plot during the coup attempt was among the files sent to the U.S.
Gul also held a phone conversation with his U.S. counterpart Sessions on Gulen’s extradition on Nov. 7, 2017.
During his talks, Gul also sent a letter to Sessions on Dec. 15,
In his letter, Gul said: “I expect necessary sensibility to be shown on fugitive FETO leader and its members to be extradited to our country, based on our bilateral relations and our judicial cooperation.”
New attention-grabbing evidence
In addition to the extradition files, a number of evidence and files regarding FETO have also been sent to the U.S. so far through the Justice Ministry.
Lastly, the Justice Ministry sent new
The letter sent by
The letter said: “Gulen’s role in the July 15 coup attempt was proved without doubt through Turkish judicial authorities.”
In a visit to Turkey on July 13, 2018, the U.S. delegation held talks with Turkish officials during a Turkey-U.S. working group meeting at the Foreign Ministry.
During the meeting, topics such as Gulen’s extradition were discussed.