By Feride Pelin Inal
Turkey has found a new evidence showing Fetullah Terrorist Organization’s (FETO) direct link to 2016 defeated coup attempt, the country’s justice minister said on Friday.
Speaking to reporters in Nizip district of southeastern Gaziantep province, Abdulhamit Gul said: “We’ve reached a new evidence corroborating all of our arguments and data that FETO has direct links to the coup attempt at that night.”
“We’ve sent this [evidence] to related persons. We expect a step on this,” Gul said.
“I will hold a phone conversation with the U.S. Secretary for Justice (Attorney General) this evening. We will follow this process together.”
The justice minister recalled that a Turkish delegation went to the U.S. last month and a U.S. delegation came to Ankara last week to jointly monitor the process.
Turkey is having contact with the U.S. authorities over the extradition of FETO’s U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen, he said, adding that a working group has been established to monitor the process.
In regards to a Britain court confiscating passport of Akin Ipek, a fugitive Turkish businessman wanted for being involved in the defeated coup in Turkey, the minister said: “…We are following the process in any case.”
“Legally, no terror organization should be protected,” he said.
Without naming any country, Gul said: “If you are a state of law, you will not protect a terrorist. You will not discriminate for the benefit of terror organizations."
On Thursday, judging him a flight risk, a British court confiscated the passport of Akin Ipek, who was the former head of Koza Ipek Holding.
Turkey’s extradition request for Ipek with the approval of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was previously submitted to British authorities.
After his arrest this May, Ipek was released on £50,000 ($64,000) bail.
Ipek, accused of attempting to overthrow Turkey’s government and violate the Constitution, faces up to two aggravated life sentences if convicted.
He is also facing 132 years in prison for setting up an armed terror group, military, and political espionage, forging documents, and laundering money.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of 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.