ANKARA (News Desk) – While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Russian President Vladimir Putin his friend during his visit to Moscow on Tuesday, Turkish Justice Minister warned that Washington would be sacrificing its friendly ties with Ankara if Fethullah Gulen was not handed over to Turkey.
Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives a self-exiled life in Pennsylvania, has been accused of ordering the failed military coup in Turkey which aimed to topple President Erdogan in mid-July.
Talking to reporters in Ankara, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said: “If the United States does not extradite him (Gulen), they will be sacrificing relations with Turkey for the sake of a terrorist who planned killings of the Turkish people.”
He went on to ask the United States about the reaction of an attempted assassination of (President) Obama while he was on holidays with his wife and children.
“If the White House was bombed, if tanks were driven over the common people, if soldiers shot at people from helicopters and the terrorist head responsible for all this was in Turkey?” he added.
Meanwhile, responding to the statement of Turkish minister, US State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau said that such rhetoric was not helpful for bilateral ties between Ankara and Washington.
She said that Washington expects Turkish officials to be responsible while issuing statements about friendly nations, adding that any extradition of Gulen would be “a legal, technical process… governed by the 1981 extradition treaty signed by both of our countries”.
On the occasion, the Spokeswoman also condemned the reports of the Turkish press which claimed that the US-based Wilson Center was involved in the Turkish coup.
It is also pertinent to be mentioned here that US Secretary of State John Kerry is also expected to visit Turkey in the coming weeks to discuss the crucial issues which also includes the Turkish demand for Gulen’s extradition.
In an earlier statement, John Kerry said that Ankara will have to present some “genuine evidence” instead of mere allegations against Fethullah Gulen for his extradition.