WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed Tuesday an official request was sent to the United States for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a suspect linked to Friday’s coup attempt, according to state-run media.
“We have sent four dossiers to the United States for the extradition of the terrorist chief,” Turkish Prime Minister Birnili Yildirim said during the ruling Justice and Development Party meeting at the parliament in Ankara, the Anadolu Agency reported.
Mark Toner, deputy spokesman at the State Department, confirmed to Diya TV that Turkey on Tuesday sent the State Department materials “which we are in the process of analyzing under the treaty” that governs extradition requests.
“I am not in position at this point in time to judge whether they constitute a formal extradition request,” Toner said. “There’s a well-defined process in place that govern these types of actions.”
Toner further said the situation is not an “overnight process” and that he wished not to comment on the documents until “we determine they constitute a formal extradition request.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the materials would be reviewed by the Departments of State and Justice.
U.S. President Barack Obama spoke Tuesday by telephone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once again relaying U.S. support and a commitment to the country’s democratically elected government. However, Obama also urged those arrested in the wake of the coup attempt be afforded their rights of due process under the Turkish Constitution, Earnest said.
Earnest said Monday that “the suggestion that somehow the United States is harboring Mr. Gulen is factually incorrect.”
Stateside, Gulen has denied any allegations that he was involved in the overthrow attempt and told reporters that had he known of the attempt, he would have tried to stop it. “I condemn and reject in the strongest terms the attempted coup,” the 77-year-old Gulen said Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that if any extradition request for the cleric was made, the country would only agree if there were compelling proof of wrongdoing by Gulen.
“We need to see genuine evidence that withstands the standard of scrutiny that exists in many countries’ system of law with respect to the issue of extradition,” Kerry said. “If it meets that standard, there’s nothing — there’s no interest we have in standing in the way of appropriately honoring the treaty that we have with Turkey.”