The Trump administration has examined the likelihood of extraditing US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen to Turkey as a way of appeasing the Turkish government, that blames the cleric for a 2016 coup attempt.
According to United States officers talking to NBC News, last month the Trump administration asked federal enforcement agencies to look at legal ways of removing the cleric.
The move would reportedly be aimed toward persuading Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ease up the pressure on Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that has been beneath increasing criticism over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi within the Saudi diplomatic building in istanbul in early October.
Among the actions taken include requesting the Department of Justice and FBI open Turkey’s surrenderrequest for Gulen and asking the Homeland Security Department to look at his status within the country, wherever he has lived since the early 90’s.
Some 250 individuals were killed and nearly 2,200 contused when elements of the Turkish military launched a coup try in July 2016.
Gulen has repeatedly denied involvement in the coup.
According to NBC, the requests by the White House were greeted with disbelief and anger by department officials.
“At first there have been eye rolls, however once they realised it had been a serious request, the career guys were furious,” said an officer.
Although Turkey has reportedly provided massive quantities of material to the Department of Justice and FBI as a part of continual requests for Gulen’s extradition, officers said it didn’t meet the standard neededto initiate an extradition.
Amnesty International has additionally warned that Gulenists were in danger of mistreatment, as well astorture, if extradited to Turkey. Erdogan has also threatened to revive the death penalty within the wake of the failed coup.
Gulen was previously an ally of Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Figures coupledto Gulen’s Hizmet movement infiltrated several arms of the Turkish state and helped the AKP neutralise the political power of the military through arrests and prosecutions.
In 2013, however, the 2 allies fell out once Gulenists opened corruption cases against members of Erdogan’s inner circle.
Since the coup attempt, almost 130,000 public sector staff were dismissed by decree throughout a post-coup state of emergency as a result of their alleged links to the plotters, as well as different “terrorist” organisations.
Around 77,000 individuals are imprisoned pending trial.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 % of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
The sources told NBC that the United States and Turkey had additionally discussed the potential release of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was sentenced to 32 months in jail in may by a United Statesfederal judge for his role in a plot to evade US sanctions against Iran.