Turkey has formally requested the extradition of an exiled Muslim cleric from the United States, the Turkish prime minister said today.
Fethullah Gulen is accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating Friday’s failed military coup from his home in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
At today’s White House briefing, spokesman Josh Earnest said the United States had received documents related to Gulen’s status, but U.S. officials were still reviewing the materials to see whether they qualified as a formal extradition request.
Secretary of State John Kerry Monday reminded Turkish officials that any request to extradite Gulen must meet a specific set of standards, including evidence of wrongdoing.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim this morning said his country sent a “dossier” to the United States, but it is unclear whether it will meet the standards outlined by Kerry, a State Department spokesman told ABC News.
Gulen, a permanent legal U.S. resident, has denied any involvement in the failed coup and issued a statement condemning it.
The U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, issued a rebuke of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s accusations that the United States is harboring Gulen.
“Some news reports, and, unfortunately, some public figures, have speculated that the United States in some way supported the coup attempt,” the ambassador wrote in a public statement. “This is categorically untrue, and such speculation is harmful to the decades-long friendship between two great nations.”
Gulen and Erdogan were once political allies before falling out over corruption allegations leveled at the Turkish president. Since then, Erdogan has frequently accused Gulen, who came to the United States in the late 1990s, of trying to overthrow the Turkish government.
Gulen is believed to have support among some members of the Turkish military. His movement, called Hizmet, which means “service,” includes think-tanks, various media enterprises and schools in many countries, including charter schools in the United States.