By Ahmet Salih Alacaci
Turkey on Thursday criticized as "unacceptable and deeply disappointing" a British court ruling rejecting Turkey’s extradition request for three accused members of the group behind the 2016 defeated coup.
The London Westminster Magistrate Court’s decision to reject the extradition of Hamdi Akin Ipek, Ali Celik, Talip Buyuk and Mustafa Yesil was "entirely unsubstantiated," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy
"Our expectation is the prompt return of these persons to Turkey in order to try them before Turkish courts," Aksoy stated, adding that Ankara would continue its efforts towards this end.
He underlined that Turkey had "strongly emphasized" to British authorities that rejecting Ankara’s extradition request for the accused Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO) members is unacceptable.
Turkey has the right to appeal the court’s verdict within 14 days.
Ipek was detained in May after Turkey's request for his extradition over charges related to the 2016 coup attempt.
A court confiscated his passport and banned him from leaving London but released him on £50,000 ($66,000) bail, a common procedure in extradition cases in the U.K.
Ipek, accused of attempting to overthrow Turkey’s government and violating the Constitution, may face up to two aggravated life sentences.
He also faces a possible 132 years in prison for setting up an armed terror group, military and political espionage, forging documents, and money laundering.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also 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.