Josh Earnest: US had not received a formal extradition request for Fethullah Gulen


Time: 1:29 a.m. CEST

The White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed the Turkish government presented in electronic form to the United States government materials related to self-exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who introduced three-month state of emergency in Turkey on July 20, requested in the previous days through media extradition of Gulen by the U.S.

In the aftermath of the attempt for the coup in Turkey by a fraction in the Turkish military, Erdogan reacted with renewal of his request for extradition of Gulen. Fethullah Gulen who lives in Pennsylvania distanced himself from the recent attempt for the coup in Turkey. But, the relations between Erdogan and Gulen could be matter for the judicial branch in the U.S., which should decide on the submitted evidences from Turkey for possible extradition. But, at this moment there is no definitive information about formal request from Turkey to the U.S.

Turkish government presented their material on Gulen to the U.S. government on Tuesday, separate from the phone call between President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “And the Department of Justice and the Department of State will review those materials, consistent with the requirements of the extradition treaty between the United States and Turkey that’s been on the books for more than 30 years now,” the White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Earnest said the U.S. is “still reviewing the materials that were submitted by the Turkish government, and we’ll do that consistent with the process that’s been established both in the U.S. law and in the extradition treaty between the United States and Turkey.”

On Tuesday’s news briefing, Earnest said the U.S. had not received a formal extradition request and he could not be able to provide a daily update on the status of this process.

This is not the first time that Erdogan is saying he would ask the U.S. to deport Islamic cleric and scholar. In an interview with PBS talk show host Charlie Rose broadcasted in April 2014, Erdogan said Gulen, a former ally with broad support in the police and judiciary, could also pose a threat to the U.S. security with his activities. “These elements which threaten the national security of Turkey cannot be allowed to exist in other countries because what they do to us here, they might do against their host,” Erdogan told Rose according to a transcript of the interview and video materials.

On December 14, 2014, almost a year after the Gezi protests in Istanbul, Turkish court in Istanbul issued a warrant for Gulen, who is about 16 years in the United States. Then, Hurryiet Daily News reported, the Office of the Prosecutor in Istanbul points Gulen as a “leader of a criminal organization, named “Hizmet Movement.”

Even though, Erdogan openly requested through the media he would request the extradition of Gulen for several times, after the attempted coup in Turkey his words are coming more real. However, Earnest who talked on Tuesday said, there is no formal request until this moment. If one would be received, Earnest explained, there would be review of the request, “both by the United States Department of Justice and by the Department of State.  And that is, of course, related to both U.S. law and the due process that individuals who live in the United States are entitled to.” The process, said Earnest, should be consistent with the “steps that are laid out in the extradition treaty between our two countries.”

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