As part of the Turkish government’s obsession with Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen, who has been in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, the justice minister argued that Gülen has been looking for a place to flee due to a request filed by Turkey for his extradition from the US.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who claimed the existence of intelligence regarding Gülen’s efforts to flee the US in the event of a possible extradition, said Gülen sympathizers are “looking for a third country” for the Turkish scholar, who has been a source of inspiration for millions of people around the world.
Erdoğan slams US for not returning Gülen without court verdict
The Turkish government has accused Gülen of masterminding a July 15 coup attempt despite the lack of any evidence and has kept the request for Gülen’s extradition on the agenda while declining to reveal what evidence was submitted to the US.
Yet, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated his desire for extradition without due process on Monday. Criticizing the US for refusing to return Gülen without a court decision, Erdoğan said, ¨When the United States demands the return of someone from the US, we pack them up and send them back, but we have not seen that same attitude in our strategic partner.”
Calling Gülen a terrorist despite the preacher’s decades-long record of peace, Erdoğan criticized the US for not extraditing Gülen, saying he has been “enjoying a sultanate in the US for 17 years.”
The pro-government media’s coverage claiming a luxurious lifestyle notwithstanding, Gülen has been living in a retreat center managed by a foundation in Pennsylvania. The compound in which Gülen has a modest room has several times been viewed by Western media outlets.