Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says the US’s stance on extraditing Fethullah Gulen will determine the future of relations between the two countries.
In an article published by Al Jazeera satellite network’s website on Tuesday, Cavusoglu reiterated Turkey’s calls for extraditing the opposition cleric.
“The position of the US on this vital matter is what may shape the future relations of the two key allies,” he said, adding that, “Any support rendered to Gulen and his terrorist organization does not comply with the spirit of cooperation between Turkey and the US.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames Gulen (seen below) for the recent failed coup in the country in which at least 246 people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries.
Reports say more than 60,000 people have been sacked, suspended or detained as part of the government’s massive crackdown on those branded as coup plotters or sympathizers.
“The statements of those under arrest and the information from multiple agencies prove that this terrorist coup attempt was staged by the Fethullah Gulen Extremist Organization,” added Cavusoglu.
Gulen has condemned the coup attempt and denied any involvement in the violence. He has instead stated that the botched putsch may have been staged by Erdogan himself as an excuse to crack down on dissent and expand his presidential powers.
Washington says it is considering Ankara’s extradition request, but Gulen would be sent back only after compelling evidence corroborated his culpability.
The putsch began overnight on July 15, when rebel soldiers declared they were in control of the country and the Ankara administration was no more in charge. Tanks, helicopters and soldiers then clashed with police and people on the streets of the capital and Istanbul.
By Press TV