Ankara-Turkey has sent a second document to the United States demanding the urgent arrest of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who was blamed for the failed coup attempt of July 15.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Tuesday: “We answered their questions about ‘why it is urgent to arrest Gulen’ with our first document. We wrote, ‘There are serious claims and statements that Fethullah Gulen had a hand in the coup attempt. Therefore he needs to be arrested immediately and we have intelligence that he could flee to a third country,’ and we sent it.”
Bozdag said that friendship between Turkey and the United States requires returning Gulen to Turkey.
He stressed the necessity of the latter being subjected to a fair trial.
He also said that Gulen could not go abroad without U.S. permission and approval.
“If he flees, that means the U.S. has turned a blind eye or given permission, because his residence in Pennsylvania is closely followed by U.S. security and intelligence units currently and it is under control. There is no possibility that he could go abroad without U.S. permission or approval apart from that control,” Bozdag said.
The Turkish government launched a sweeping crackdown on Gulen’s movement, which runs schools, charities and businesses internationally.
In Turkey, nearly 70,000 people have been suspended from their jobs on suspicion of being involved in the movement.
In a common matter, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad on Tuesday as the Turkish FM requested closing Gulen’s schools in Pakistan.
In a joint press conference, Sartaj said that it would investigate a network of Gulen-run businesses, schools and entities that Turkey wants shut.
For his part, Cavusoglu said that the “terrorist” organization has a global network of schools, business associations and cultural entities including in Pakistan.
He said Turkey had been supporting these organizations in the past, as it did not know they were plotting to take over power in Turkey and the first such attempt was undertaken in December 2013.
He said Turkey has full cooperation from Pakistan in dealing with this matter.
Turkey’s request comes in the framework of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s international campaign to close all Gulen’s businesses and end his Islamic movement.
Erdogan and the Turkish authorities blame the cleric and his followers for orchestrating last month’s failed military coup, in which more than 230 people were killed.
Since then, thousands of people have been detained, suspended from work or placed under investigation, with the government vowing to purge the army, police and judiciary of elements it says support Gulen.