“If there is any possibility of a forceful extradition, of course we will oblige,” he added. “But I’m not worried about that. I’m not worried that the U.S. government will give credit to claims that Erdogan is making. I will not beg anybody. I have enjoyed my freedom here, I will leave without grudges in my heart.”
Nurullah Albayrak, the lawyer representing Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, said in a written statement on Monday that pro-government media outlets continue their false accusations about Gülen and members of the Gülen movement, pointing out that Gülen was acquitted in June 2008 of all allegations that had been leveled against him at that time.
Seval Yıldırım, a professor of law at Whittier Law School, said in a statement to Today’s Zaman on Wednesday that for the US to extradite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen without a formal case against him would be an infringement of US law.
Speaking to journalists following the Cabinet meeting on Monday, Arınç added that he does not know how US would react to this political request. Admitting that there is no legal base for Gülen’s extradition, the deputy prime minister said that without the necessary documents, evidence and a court order, it is not possible to get someone extradited from a country.
Despite his pressures, Turkish prosecutors have not agreed to write an indictment against Gulen. On the other hand, Gulen has already been tried in absentia between 1999-2008 for all the accusations now recycled and repeated by Erdogan. The Kemalist military establishment was very powerful at the time and they were almost in full control of the state but they still could not produce concrete evidence against Gulen.
The Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV) — whose honorary chairman is Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen — has stated that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been trying to create the perception that the Hizmet movement is being backed by the US with his recent request for Gülen’s extradition though there is no legal basis for one.
General assumption is that Erdogan is indeed playing a cynical game with the Gulen issue, and also involving the United States in this, in a populist effort aimed at his own constituency in the lead-up to the presidential elections in August, where he is expected to run.
In an editorial titled ‘Let Mr. Erdogan Fight His Own Battles’ published on May 2, the New York Times said ‘The American government is obliged to examine the request if Mr. Erdogan follows through and formally files one. But right now the threat seems to be nothing more than a crass and cynical attempt to exploit the law, and Turkey’s alliance with the United States, for political payback.’
The news that Turkey will officially request that the United States extradite Turkish Islamic scholar Fetullah Gulen is threatening to strain U.S.-Turkish relations. Ankara insists Gulen is behind a conspiracy to overthrow the government. But analysts warn that Ankara may find it difficult legally to secure his extradition.