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US delegation in Ankara for talks on Gulen extradition

A U.S. delegation has arrived Monday in Turkey to discuss the extradition of Fetullah Gulen who is accused of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt, official sources said on Tuesday.

Sources from the Justice Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media, said that three officials from the U.S. Justice Department and another from the State Department arrived in capital Ankara late Monday night.

The delegation began talks with officials from Turkey's Justice Ministry's International Law and Foreign Affairs Directorate early Tuesday morning, the sources added.

Turkish officials are expected to share information about four different files dealing with the extradition of Gulen who is also accused of leading a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Turkey's government has said the defeated coup, which left 240 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured, was organized by followers of Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, and his network.

The sources added that Turkey's Justice Ministry would also share important evidence regarding Gulen's involvement in the July coup attempt.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will also visit Turkey on Wednesday to emphasize Washington's "ongoing strong support" of Turkey after the foiled coup, the White House said Monday.

"That is a coup attempt that was roundly and publicly condemned by the United States government and we continue to strongly support the democratic government of our allies in Turkey," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

The U.S. vice president will, if asked during his visit, reiterate that efforts to extradite Gulen would be governed by "an extradition treaty that's been on the books between the United States and Turkey for more than 30 years," Earnest said.

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