Date posted: August 20, 2016
New York. In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya News Channel, Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen said he was confident that the United States will not extradite him, even as Turkey formally submitted its request earlier in the week.
Gulen, a cleric in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has been blamed for the failed coup attempt against his rival and the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The United States has a reputation in the world as a country that upholds the rule of law. So I trust they will follow the proper procedures,” Gulen told Al Arabiya’s New York Bureau Chief Talal al-Haj.
On August 16, Turkey officially requested the US for Gulen’s extradition. There have also been allegations of Turkish parliamentarians visiting the United States and meeting with the Department of Justice officials, bringing with them 85 boxes of evidence about Gulen’s involvement in the failed coup.
Asked whether the US might cave into pressure, the cleric said there was a possibility. “Of course, it is possible for the US authorities to be deceived as well. Technically there is a possibility although I don’t consider that a significant likelihood,” he said.
Nathaniel Tek, the US State Department’s regional spokesman, had told Al Arabiya English that strong and credible evidence would be required to prove the cleric’s wrongdoing.
“There needs to be a set of specific documentation, with evidence that goes directly to our Department of Justice,” Tek told Al Arabiya English. “At that point, what happens is that we review the request, in accordance with US federal law and international law, and then we’ll make a decision at that point.”
This news was first published by Al Arabiya itself with the title “Exclusive: Gulen confident US will not extradite him.” However, it was shortly after removed from the website due to, perhaps, pressure from Turkish gov’t.
Source: Focus Information Agency , August 219, 2016