US Vice President Joe Biden is expected to visit Turkey in late August. The news came as Turkey's prime minister confirmed Ankara would not make any compromises over the extradition of exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (photo above) has announced US Vice President Joe Biden would come to visit Turkey on August 24.
In his statement on Saturday, Yildirim stressed that Ankara could not make any compromises with the United States over the extradition request of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who Turkey blames for orchestrating the attempted coup on July 15.
"The American vice president is expected to come to Turkey, on August 24 with the American delegation," Yildirim was quoted as saying by CNN Turk.
Turkey's crackdown has seen many journalists placed under arrest, such as IMC TV reporter Gökhan Bicici (pictured here)
"The main element improving our relations with the US is the extradition of Gülen, where there is no room for negotiation. Whether or not the anti-Americanism in Turkey will continue is also dependant on this," Yildirim reportedly added.
Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag had previously warned the US not to endanger bilateral relations over the Gülen affair.
Biden's visit has not yet been confirmed by the United States, but would be the first time a top Western leader has visited Turkey since the attempted putsch. A faction within the military, which Turkey accuses of being associated with Gülen's "Hizmet" movement, failed to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
US Secretary of State John Kerry was also announced to visit Turkey some time in October.
Yildirim's comments came soon after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had announced that Turkey started receiving "positive signals" from Washington regarding its extradition request.
Turkish authorities said they had prepared an official request for the temporary arrest of United States-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen ahead of any potential extradition, saying they had determined the coup had been staged upon orders by the cleric. The request has reportedly been submitted to Turkey's Justice Ministry for it to be relayed to US authorities, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.
Gülen denies the accusations against him; the US has asked Turkey to provide evidence for any extradition or arrest to be considered, which Ankara claims it has done by sending several documents to that end. Under a new initiative, Gülen could face the death penalty in Turkey - if it were to be reintroduced.
Crackdown on Gülen supporters
Gülen runs an international network of charities and schools from self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania under his umbrella "Hizmet" movement, which Turkey has branded a terrorist organization.
The July 15 coup attempt left more than 270 people dead, mainly in the capital Ankara and Turkey's largest city, Istanbul. Turkey has since launched a massive crackdown on alleged supporters of the Gülen movement, raising concerns among human rights groups.
More than 35,000 people have been detained for questioning while tens of thousands of others have been dismissed from government jobs, including in the judiciary, media, education, healthcare, military and local government.
ss/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)