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