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Turkish, US officials discuss US-based cleric's extradition

A man holds a Turkish flag during an anti coup rally at Taksim square in Istanbul

RIGA/ISTANBUL When U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Turkey in January, he struck a hard balance between showing support for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally faced with multiple security threats while criticizing its record on free speech and dissent.

Turkey Justice Ministry officials stated they would share with their USA counterparts the extradition demand documents in addition to evidence indicating Gulen's direct involvement in the attempted coup.

On July 15 evening, Turkish authorities said a military coup attempt took place in the country. Gulen has denied any connection to the coup plot.

But Toner said the request doesn't relate to the recent coup attempt in Turkey.

Through the nearly eight years of the Obama administration, Biden has been the president's go-between with Erdogan, who was Turkey's prime minister for more than a decade before becoming president in 2014.

An opposition politician in Azerbaijan has been arrested on charges related to last month's failed coup in Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan even accused the U.S. of supporting or backing the July 15 coup that aimed to remove him from power.

"In all countries where the FETO has a presence, we ask them to take immediate actions to remove them from their territories". The officials said Biden planned to tell Turkey's leaders that their public allegations of US complicity won't help their cause.

The stalling of Gulen's extradition will have serious consequences on bilateral relations, says Professor Gulnur Aybet, the Head of Department of Political Science and International Relations at Bahcesehir University.

The U.S. once considered Erdogan a leader interested in promoting democracy and working with America.

The government has declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on Gulen's supporters in the aftermath of the coup, raising concerns among Turkey's allies and human rights groups. Yet the USA has been careful not to hammer Turkey over those concerns in public out of concern it would undercut the US message of support for Turkey's government.

Cavusoglu's remarks have come just a day after at least 50 people were killed and more than 90 others were injured in a suicide bomb attack in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep on Saturday.

In another worrying sign for the U.S., Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim appeared to warm to the possibility of Syrian President Bashar Assad maintaining a role in a transitional government. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.theeagleonline.com.ng as the source. This includes the preparation of derivative works of, or the incorporation of such content into other works. Please see our terms of service for more information.