US President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that Washington “would take a look at” the possibility of extraditing Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara accuses of being behind a 2016 coup attempt, but he made no commitment, the White House has said.
“The only thing he said is that we would take a look at it, nothing further at this point beyond that,” White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders told reporters on Tuesday.
“Take a look at it but nothing committal at all in that process, just that he would look into it,” she added.
On Dec. 16 Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Trump had told Erdoğan that Washington was working on extraditing Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US for nearly two decades.
Asked about the comment on Dec. 17, another White House official said only that Trump did not commit to extraditing Gülen when he spoke to Erdoğan at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires last month.
Gülen and his movement have also been accused of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
The Gülen movement has denied all allegations leveled against it.
The requested extradition of Gülen is one of several issues that have strained the relationship between the two NATO allies.