Turkey's justice minister plans to demand the extradition of an exiled cleric in a meeting with his US counterpart on Monday, state media report. The government accuses Fethullah Gulen of plotting Turkey's 2016 coup.
At a meeting with his US counterpart, Jeff Sessions, in Washington on Monday, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag will demand the extradition of an exiled cleric accused of helping mastermind a 2016 coup, the Anadolu news agency reports. Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, denies any involvement in the failed July 15 plot.
Bozdag plans to underline President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's stance during his US trip with "new evidence with reference to Gulen being behind the coup," Turkey's official news agency reported on Saturday.
Shortly after the putsch, Turkey's government sent dozens of dossiers to the US administration seeking to prove Gulen's involvement. However, the influential cleric contends that Erdogan initiated the coup d'etat himself in order to create an excuse to silence critics.
Turkey's crackdown continues
Since Erdogan declared a state of emergency following the coup last summer, his government has dismissed more than 4,200 judges and prosecutors, as well as another 100,000 people from various other public sector positions. The government has ordered more than 47,000 people arrested.
On Friday, the government fired 107 judges and prosecutors on suspicion of having ties to Gulen. On Saturday, Turkey's state-run news agency reported, the government issued arrest warrants for 17 of those judges and six prosecutors.
Erdogan plans to go to Washington to meet his US counterpart, Donald Trump, on May 17. The Turkish president has said he will ask Trump in person to extradite Gulen.
mkg/tj (dpa, AP)