Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 30
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Turkey is interested in Fethullah Gulen's arrest and his extradition to the country, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with TRT Haber TV channel.
Fethullah Gulen is an Islamic public figure currently residing in the US.
President Erdogan said that the fight with the Gulen movement is a national policy of Turkey.
"Gulen's arrest and extradition are extremely important for bilateral relations between Turkey and the US," he said.
Fethullah Gulen's movement planned an Islamic revolution in Turkey, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said earlier.
The minister said that despite this, the Turkish government was able to prevent all the coup attempts in the country.
Earlier it was reported that a large-scale staff reshuffle is expected to take place in the government bodies of Turkey as part of fight against the Gulen movement.
It is expected that almost all the heads of Turkey's state agencies will be replaced.
On Jan. 28, the Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication Lutfi Elvan said all the applicants for employment in government agencies would be thoroughly checked to prevent a possible infiltration of Gulen's supporters to Turkey's state bodies.
In February 2014, the Turkish media reported that in 2011, the telephone conversations of about 7,000 people associated with the representatives of both the ruling and opposition parties, including family members of the prime minister, were wiretapped as part of an anti-terrorist operation carried out by Istanbul prosecutor's office against "Salam" terrorist organization.
During the anti-terrorist operations, telephone conversations of the head of the Turkish intelligence, Hakan Fidan were wiretapped as well.
At that time, the then prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Gulen of standing behind the wiretapping of the phone conversations.
Erdogan stressed that the Gulen movement with its anti-state activities proved that it is not a religious movement, but a politicized and illegal structure.
He also called on Fethullah Gulen not to intervene in Turkey's internal affairs and accused the US of supporting him.
Erdogan also previously said that Gulen would be extradited from the US. However, the US authorities said that an extradition is inadmissible.
Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara would make every effort to achieve Gulen's extradition.
Follow the author on Twitter @rhafizoglu