Ankara requests extradition of Gulen, 83 others

Turkey has reiterated its demand that the US extradite exiled Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen to face sedition charges in Ankara. (AFP/Zaman Daily File photo)
Updated 22 November 2018

Ankara requests extradition of Gulen, 83 others

  • Turkish President Erdogan blames Gulen for the July 15, 2016, failed coup plot against him
  • Trump said on Saturday that he had no plans to extradite Gulen, who strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt

ANKARA: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday gave US officials a list of 84 members of Fethullah Gulen’s movement — including the cleric himself — whose extradition Ankara is requesting.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames Gulen — whom he once regarded as an ally — for the July 15, 2016, failed coup plot against him, but calls for his extradition have so far been unsuccessful.

Turkey’s chief diplomat said he did not receive any “assurances” after meeting with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton during a visit to Washington.

“But we have given this list of the people that we request the US to extradite,” Cavusoglu said.

President Donald Trump “asked Erdogan to send that list and I gave that list to both Pompeo and Ambassador Bolton,” he said.

Trump said on Saturday that he had no plans to extradite Gulen, who strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

“It’s not under consideration,” Trump told reporters, while also saying that Erdogan is “a friend of mine. He’s a strong man, a tough man and a smart man, so whatever we can do, we’ll do... but at this point? No.”

US-Turkish relations have recently been strained, but they warmed up after Ankara’s release in October of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

The fate of Gulen remains a central point of tension between the countries.

In addition to the extraditions, Cavusoglu said he had raised Turkey’s request to make permanent a temporary waiver of US sanctions it was granted earlier this month to allow it to continue to import Iranian oil without penalty. He said a permanent waiver is necessary because Turkey could not make up for a loss in Iranian oil purchases. “We cannot diversify further,” he told reporters at a news conference at the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington.

The Trump administration earlier this month re-imposed all sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the terms of the nuclear deal that the president withdrew from in May. Those include sanctions on countries and companies that continue to do business with designated Iranian firms, such as its state-owned oil company.

 

 

Turkish President Erdogan blames Gulen for the July 15, 2016, failed coup plot against him


Hezbollah says 2 Israeli drones downed in south Beirut

Updated 18 min 36 sec ago

Hezbollah says 2 Israeli drones downed in south Beirut

  • Israelii jets earlier attacked targets near Syria’s capital of Damascus to pre-empt an alleged Iranian drone attack plot

BEIRUT: A Hezbollah official said Sunday that an Israeli drone went down over the Lebanese capital of Beirut and another exploded in the air, amid regional tensions between Israel and Iran.
Residents of the Iranian-backed group’s stronghold in southern Beirut reported one large explosion that shook the area early Sunday, triggering a fire. They said the nature of the blast in the Moawwad neighborhood was not immediately clear, but said it might have been caused by an Israeli drone that went down in the area amid Israeli air activity in neighboring Syria.
They said they heard an aircraft flying just before the blast and reported later that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group sealed off the area. The blast occurred near the militant group’s media office in the Moawwad district.
The Hezbollah official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as the person was not authorized to speak on the record to journalists. No details were immediately available.
Israeli warplanes fly over Lebanon regularly and have struck inside neighboring Syria from Lebanese airspace on numerous occasions.
A few hours earlier, late Saturday, the Israeli military attacked targets near Syria’s capital of Damascus in what it said was a successful effort to thwart an imminent Iranian drone strike on Israel, stepping up an already heightened campaign against Iranian military activity in the region.
The late-night airstrike, which triggered Syrian anti-aircraft fire, appeared to be one of the most intense attacks by Israeli forces in several years of hits on Iranian targets in Syria.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Al Quds force, working with allied Shiite militias, had been planning to send a number of explosives-laden attack drones into Israel.
On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack by Israeli warplanes a “major operational effort.”
Syrian state TV said the country’s air defenses had responded to “hostile” targets over Damascus and shot down incoming missiles before they reached their targets.
In recent days, US officials have said that Israeli strikes have also hit Iranian targets in Iraq.