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Official: Gulen is as important to Turkey as Bin Laden was for US

Image of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen [Twitter]
Fethullah G├╝len, the Turkish cleric in self-imposed exile in the US, who has been accused of masterminding the Turkish coup attempt of July 2016

The Turkish government views Fethullah Gulen in the same light as the US regarded Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Ladin, government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said.

The remarks came as Ankara awaits a US judicial decision regarding Gulen's extradition.

Keeping Gulen in the US, Bozdag explained, would damage relations between Washington and Ankara, as the latter cannot understand why America would want to protect someone who Turkey deems responsible for "terrorist activities".

"How would the United States and its people look at Turkey if it provided protection to Osama Bin Laden, as Washington is now doing to Gulen?" Bozdag asked.

Turkey accuses Gulen and his group of planning the failed coup attempt in mid-July 2016.

State media: Turkey orders dozens of soldiers arrested in Gulen-related probe

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