Erdogan Talks With Obama About Extraditing Gulen

Washington, 15 Syawal 1437/20 July 2016 (MINA) – Turkey has sent the Obama administration documents that the Turks say will show last week’s attempted coup in Istanbul was orchestrated by a cleric living in the U.S., the White House said.

During a phone call Tuesday, President Barack Obama discussed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan his government’s demand that the U.S. extradite the Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in Pennsylvania for nearly two decades, reported.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama administration officials are still sifting through the documents Turkey submitted electronically to the U.S. on Tuesday, and it’s not yet clear if they include a formal request for the extradition of Mr. Gulen.

Mr. Obama pledged to Mr. Erdogan the assistance of the U.S. in Turkey’s investigation into the attempted coup. He also stressed to the Turkish leader the need to follow the democratic process in carrying out that investigation.

The phone call took place as Turkey expanded its detainment of people in response to the failed coup.

“The principles of democracy should be adhered to even as a thorough investigation is conducted,” Mr. Earnest said.

Mr. Gulen has urged the Obama administration not to grant Turkey’s request for extradition.

Mr. Gulen leads no registered congregation, and says he leads a simple life, removed from worldly concerns in his mansion in Saylorsburg in the Pocono Mountains. He is estimated to have a significant following in Turkey and abroad.

His followers have set up at least 55,000 businesses, under the umbrella of one of Turkey’s biggest business organizations, Tuskon, and run successful charter schools in 160 countries.

In recent years, his followers have attempted to penetrate state institutions in Turkey, specifically the police forces and the judiciary. Mr. Gulen’s movement gained significant political influence in the past decade by initially backing Turkey’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party, or AKP, until Mr. Gulen fell out with Mr. Erdogan (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)