– For Turkey, terrorist leader Fetullah Gulen means what Osama Bin Laden, the late terrorist leader behind the 2011 attacks, once meant for the U.S., Turkey’s justice minister said Tuesday, reported Anadolu Agency.
Speaking to reporters in Ankara before leaving for the U.S. to push Turkey’s official request for Gulen’s extradition and provisional arrest, Bekir Bozdag said Turkey has sent all the necessary evidence in a file for Gulen’s extradition.
“For us, the file includes more than required for the extradition of terrorist Fetullah Gulen to Turkey. When you compare the extradition and provisional arrest requests made of Turkey to date, not only by the U.S. but also all other countries, the extradition file and the provisional arrest demand files of Fetullah Gulen are the fullest ones in terms of validity,” he said.
Asked if Turkey has a plan should the meetings failed to bear fruit, Bozdag warned that not extraditing or dragging out the process would hurt ties between Washington and Ankara.
“What we want is not to bring the ties between the U.S. and Turkey to a negative point just because of a terrorist.”
Turkey has officially submitted to the U.S. evidence that Gulen’s network established a quasi-state within the Turkish state in an attempt to topple the government and ultimately tried to take over the state via a bloody coup.
Turkish authorities also issued an official request for Gulen’s extradition under a 1979 treaty between Turkey and the U.S.
During his four-day official visit, according to his official schedule, Bozdag is also due to attend a panel discussion on the July 15 coup attempt organized by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) and inaugurate Anadolu Agency’s photo exhibit on “The Rise of the National Will” in Washington.
At least 241 people were martyred and nearly 2,200 injured in the failed coup, which the government said was organized by followers of Fetullah Gulen, the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) leader who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, in the U.S.
Gulen is accused of leading a long-running campaign to overthrow the Turkish government through the infiltration of state institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.