MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Washington is not yet ready to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accused of being the mastermind behind the recent coup attempt, as it is not convinced by the evidence Turkey provided to support their allegations, local media reported.
On Thursday, the head of the Turkish delegation that is on a visit to the United States in an effort to persuade Washington to extradite Gulen, Taha Ozhan, said that Turkey considers the continued presence of dissident Muslim cleric Gulen in the United States as a problem in bilateral ties.
The US officials are not convinced by the evidence Turkey has presented in orderto support the claim that Gulen was behind the coup attempt, and are troubled by threatening public statements Turkish officials have recently made, the Wall Street Journal said Thursday, citing sources familiar with the discussions in the White House.
According to the media, US and Turkish officials have been privately discussing several scenarios under which Pennsylvania-based cleric could be extradited, but the negotiations have so far failed to persuade Washington.
On July 15, an attempted coup took place in Turkey that was suppressed the following day. Over 240 people were killed during the coup attempt and an estimated 2,000 were wounded. Ankara has accused US-based dissident Gulen and his followers of playing a key role in the coup.
Gulen, who has lived in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied allegations that he orchestrated the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.
On Thursday, US State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said that the United States is reviewing Turkish documents to determine if they are a formal request for Washington to extradite Gulen on charges he attempted to overthrow the Turkish government.