The U.S. will not take any legal action on Fetullah Terror Organization’s (FETO) leader Fetullah Gulen’s extradition request by Turkey until evidence is found, State Department said Tuesday.
“We haven’t made a decision,” agency spokesman Mark Toner said during a press briefing. Ankara requested extradition almost a month ago for the U.S.-based preacher it accuses of orchestrating a recent coup attempt in Turkey.
“There wouldn’t even be a minimum of evidence. My understanding is that we wouldn’t take any action, legal action against an individual until we” found him guilty, Toner said.
At least 240 people were martyred during the July 15 putsch attempt.
Since July 19, Turkey has sent two set of documents, requiring Gulen’s extradition. According to Toner, the U.S. needs to check “all evidence” before making any decision.
He said the U.S. continued to process the request apart from any political or emotionally driven reaction, but based on a 1979 extradition treaty between Turkey and the U.S.
“We need to be very deliberate and we are being very deliberate about analyzing the materials that we’ve had,” the spokesman said.
“I just want to say we’ve received several batches of materials from the Turkish authorities and we’re analyzing them.”
Toner was asked whether the U.S hasn’t seen minimum evidence against Gulen as the U.S. has not arrested the cleric since the extradition process began.
The treaty between the two countries requires the detention of a suspect in the host country for 60 days as soon as a demand is made.
Asked if the U.S. has taken steps to prevent Gulen’s escape from the U.S., Toner said only that there are mechanisms in place to enforce his extradition.
He did not specify if Gulen’s passport had been revoked or if there were restrictions on his ability to travel.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke via telephone Tuesday to Secretary of State John Kerry. The diplomats discussed bilateral and regional issues, including Syria, counter-Daesh efforts and Gulen’s extradition, according to Toner.
Source: Anadolu Agency