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Turkey requests extradition of Gulen, 83 other wanted people from US

Turkey has presented the United States with a list of wanted people for extradition, comprising President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s arch-foe, Fetullah Gulen, and 83 members of his movement.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu handed over the litany to his American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, during a visit to Washington on Tuesday.

Topmost on the list is opposition cleric Gulen, Erdogan’s ally-turned-nemesis who stands accused of having masterminded an abortive coup against the Ankara government in July 2016.

Turkey has branded Gulen’s movement as a terrorist organization. The Pennsylvania-based cleric is also accused of being behind a long-running campaign to topple the government via infiltrating the country’s institutions.

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of having links to Gulen and the botched coup. More than 110,000 others, including military staff, civil servants and journalists, have been sacked or suspended from work over the same accusations.

Cavusoglu said he had not received any “assurances” after meeting with Pompeo and US President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton that the extraditions would take place.

Trump had “asked Erdogan to send that list and I gave that list to both Pompeo and ambassador Bolton,” the Turkish top diplomat said.

The US president 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,” he told reporters, while also saying that Erdogan was “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.”

Meanwhile, NBC News has reported that the White House is seeking ways to extradite Gulen in a bid to reduce Turkish pressure on Saudi Arabia over the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.