US team to visit Turkey to discuss Gülen extradition demand: report

ANKARA, TURKEY - AUGUST 24 : Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) and US Vice President Joe Biden (L) hold a joint press conference after their meeting at Cankaya Palace in Ankara, Turkey on August 24, 2016. Hakan Goktepe / Anadolu Agency

A US delegation is scheduled to visit Ankara this week to discuss Turkey’s request for the extradition of a self-exiled cleric it says instigated a 2016 coup attempt, Bloomberg reported, citing two Turkish officials.

The team will meet with Turkish counterparts from the justice, foreign and interior ministries on Thursday and Friday, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Talks will focus on Turkish allegations against Fethullah Gülen, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has been living in the US since 1999 and who denies any role in the abortive putsch.

The US has so far sidestepped repeated Turkish requests to turn over the cleric, with President Donald Trump saying in November that the extradition was “not under consideration.”

Relations between the US and its NATO ally have been strained over a host of issues, including the fate of Gülen and American support for a Kurdish militia in northern Syria that Turkey considers a terrorist group. Trump’s order to withdraw US troops embedded with the Kurds, though, has been welcomed by Erdoğan, whose military has been massing along the Syrian border ahead of an anticipated offensive.


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