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Turkey officially demands US extradites Gulen

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says official request sent for Pennsylvania-based cleric Fetullah Gulen's extradition

19.07.2016
Turkey officially demands US extradites Gulen

ANKARA

Turkey’s prime minister confirmed on Tuesday that an official request has been sent to the U.S. for the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, a key suspect being linked to Friday's failed coup attempt.

Chairing the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party group meeting at the parliament in Ankara, Binali Yildirim criticized the U.S. for "insistently" asking Turkey to provide evidence of the Pennsylvania-based cleric's involvement in the attempted coup before extraditing him.

"It is already clear," Yildirim said, adding: "However, we will provide them with a pile of evidence."

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Brussels that his country has "a formal process for dealing with extradition requests" and that Turkey "must send evidence, not allegations".

Yildirim responded on Tuesday: "I would like to ask my American friends: Did you look for evidence when demanding the terrorists who carried out the September 11 [2001] attacks?

"We have no doubt on the source of this vicious coup and we know all the details over who guided it and how."

The government says Friday’s failed coup was organized by followers of Gulen, who is accused of pursuing a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through supporters within Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary. 

"Do not protect that traitor any longer. That is no use for you, as well," the Turkish premier said.

"Every coup, without exception, is bad and murderous. But none of the coup attempts in our political history was as vicious as the one on July 15. None of them was guided by a traitor who is in the shape of a cleric [...] None of them bombed the Turkish parliament."

'Democratic duty'

The deadly coup attempt happened late on Friday when rogue elements of Turkish military tried to overthrow the country's democratically elected government.

Tanks were on the streets of Istanbul and Ankara announcing that the army had seized control of the country.

At least 208 people, including members of the security forces and civilians, were martyred in Istanbul and Ankara and nearly 1,500 others wounded as they protested against the coup.

Yildirim praised those who had been fighting the tanks and protesting against the coup attempt. 

"The power of the tanks could not win over the power of the people," he said.

Pointing to an ongoing "democracy duty" Yildirim said now was a time of unity, not differences. 

People from across the country took to streets from the very beginning of the coup attempt, shouting pro-democracy and anti-coup slogans. Some have also demanded the death penalty for those involved in the coup.

Yildirim said the public should feel comfortable about the punishment for the coup attempters: "Justice will be manifested," he said.

*Humeyra Atilgan Buyukovali contributed to this report from Istanbul.

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