By Arab News
Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on Turkey to provide hard evidence that a US-based cleric was behind a foiled coup attempt last weekend if it wants him extradited.
Kerry said Wednesday that he made clear in several phone calls with Turkey’s foreign minister that mere allegations of wrongdoing against Fethullah Gulen would not meet US extradition requirements.
“With respect to Mr. Gulen, we have consistently said to our friends in Turkey and allies in Turkey that we need evidence,” Kerry told reporters at the State Department. “We have a very strict set of requirements that have to be met for an extradition to take place.”
Speaking to Al-Jazeera channel, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “If the US does not extradite Gulen, it would be a big mistake. We are giving them all the evidence.” He said he believed some foreign countries might have been involved in last weekend’s failed coup.
Kerry said he had told Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavosoglu in several phone calls: “Please don’t send us allegations, send us evidence. We need to have evidence which we can then make a judgment about.”
Turkey’s higher education council has banned academics from work trips abroad and urged those overseas to quickly return home, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
The council asked university rectors to “urgently examine the situation of all academic and administrative personnel linked with FETO” — or the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization,” as it labels Gulen’s supporters — and report back by Aug. 5. More than 15,000 Turkish state education employees have been suspended after last week’s attempted coup. Also, the authorities have scrapped all TV and radio station licenses linked to Gulen.
The broadcasting watchdog said it had “canceled all broadcasting rights and licenses for media that had links to FETO/PDY.”