Sat, 19 Jan 2019
21
Dubai

Turkey's foreign minister says U.S. President Donald Trump has told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Washington is 'working on extraditing' a U.S.-based Muslim cleric that Ankara accuses of orchestrating Turkey's failed 2016 coup.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on December 16 that Trump made the remark to Erdogan about Fethullah Gulen during the Group of 20 summit held in Argentina from November 30 to December 1.

There was no immediate confirmation of Cavusoglu's claim from the White House, the U.S. State Department, or Justice Department.

It remains unclear whether Washington can legally extradite Gulen because the United States has long refuted evidence presented by Turkey that implicates the cleric in the 2016 attempted coup.

Turkey has long sought the extradition of Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for nearly two decades.

A former ally of Erdogan, Gulen denies any involvement in the failed coup.

In November, Trump said he was not considering Gulen's extradition as part of efforts to ease Turkish pressure on Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

Last week, Erdogan said Turkey would begin new initiatives abroad to target the financing of Gulen's supporters.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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