Following the Turkish government’s demands for the extradition of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, a delegation from the United States arrived in Ankara on Tuesday for talks with Turkish authorities.
The delegation, which reportedly comprises three representatives from the US Department of Justice and four from the Department of State, is expected to hold talks with Turkey’s Ministry of Justice on Turkey’s accusations against Gülen.
Turkey’s regime has waged a long war against peaceful cleric Gülen, who encourages the opening of schools around the world and promotes interfaith dialogue, since the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government held him responsible for the unfolding of massive corruption investigations in late 2013.
Although President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly and publicly blamed the US for not returning Gülen, it has emerged that Turkey has not filed an official extradition request despite its Gülen bashing.
Following the foiled coup of July 15, Erdoğan has been labeling Gülen as the mastermind of the coup despite a lack of substantiated evidence. The US government, on the other hand, emphasizes the rule of law and demands credible evidence to consider extradition. Washington-based journalist İlhan Tanır wrote last week, based on an official American source, that the folders Turkey submitted against Gülen are mostly in Turkish and lack credible evidence.