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Turkish Diplomat: U.S. will Hand over Gulen | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

Jeddah-Turkey’s Ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Salih Mutlu Sen has stressed that Washington would eventually hand over US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish authorities.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Sen said: “We believe that the U.S would hand over Gulen,” who Ankara claims was behind the attempted coup last month.

“Legal measures take time. The U.S. is a strategic ally and an ally in NATO,” he said.

The diplomat told his interviewer that Gulen should be returned to Turkey for trial. “He has the right to defend himself. But we have all the evidence on his involvement in the coup.”

“Many of those arrested have also admitted about Gulen’s involvement,” Sen said.

Asked about the number of arrests made after the coup attempt, the ambassador said there are currently 18,000 detainees on suspicion of links to the putsch.

“The number of his (Gulen’s) followers is much more than we had expected,” he told Asharq al-Awsat. “During the coup, it became clear from the behavior of some (suspects) that they were Gulen followers.”

He said the coup plotters had the intention to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and attack the parliament and the government.

“Gulen had come up with a long-term plan around 40 years ago on how to infiltrate the military and educational institutions, the judiciary and the police,” said Sen. “He was able to control 90 percent of the state institutions by mobilizing his followers.”

“All these events prove that what happened is not a Hollywood movie but a plot that he had masterminded,” Sen told Asharq Al-Awsat.

His remarks came after Gulen described the failed coup as a Hollywood movie.

Asked what message he likes to send to Arabs, Sen said: “In the past 12 years, Turkey has become closer to its brethren. The number of Arab Muslims who visit Turkey has doubled and there is a huge Arab interest in Turkish culture.”

“We also have economic and trade cooperation,” he added.