Baku, Azerbaijan, April 15
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
The U.S. is ready to fulfill Turkey's demand to extradite Fethullah Gulen [Islamic public figure currently residing in the U.S] if his guilt is proved, Francis Ricciardone, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, said Tuesday.
A criminal case has not been launched against Gulen and therefore his extradition from the U.S. is impossible, Ricciardone said, according to Turkish Sabah newspaper.
Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it is possible to extradite Gulen, who he claims interferes in Turkey's internal affairs, helping to destabilize the situation in the country.
Turkish Justice Minister, Bekir Bozdag also previously said Fethullah Gulen can be put on the international wanted list, however, a court decision is necessary.
Turkish media reported on Feb. 25 that in 2011 telephone conversations of about 7,000 people associated with the representatives of both the ruling and opposition parties, including family members of Turkish PM were wiretapped as part of the anti-terrorist operation carried out by the Istanbul prosecutor's office against the Salam terrorist organization.
The telephone conversations of Turkish intelligence head Hakan Fidan were also wiretapped during the anti-terrorist operations.
Following this, Prime Minister Erdogan accused Gulen and representatives of his movement of standing behind the wiretapping of the phone conversations.
Erdogan also stressed that Gulen movement, which he earlier called a "parallel structure", proved with its anti-state activities that it is not a religious movement, but a politicized and illegal structure.
Turkish PM called on Gulen not to intervene in Turkey's internal affairs and accused the U.S. of supporting him.
The council member of Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party, Mazhar Bagli said that all the actions of Gulen and his supporters are aimed at undermining the country's national interests.
Gulen is the founder of the Hizmet public movement, as well as, the Turkish Journalists and Writers Foundation.
Previously the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf also said Gulen's extradition is out of question.
Harf said the U.S. and Turkey are allies, but that does not mean that the two countries share the same opinion in all issues.
Earlier it was reported that Gulen requested political asylum in Canada. Gulen made this decision after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed the possibility of his extradition from the United States.
Aside from Canada, Gulen also asked for political asylum in New Zealand.
Translated by E.A.
Edited by C.N.
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