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Turkey-U.S. relations remain tense, as Erdogan again demands cleric extradition

Turkey-U.S. relations remain tense, as Erdogan again demands cleric extradition
From CBC - January 11, 2018

Turkey will not extradite any suspects to the United States if Washington does not hand over the cleric Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed 2016 military coup, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

Ankara accuses U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the putsch and has repeatedly asked Washington for his extradition. U.S. officials have said courts require sufficient evidence to extradite the elderly cleric, who has denied any involvement in the coup.

"We have given the United States 12 terrorists so far, but they have not given us back the one we want. They made up excuses from thin air," Erdogan told local administrators at a conference in his presidential palace in Ankara.

"If you are not giving him [Gulen] to us, then excuse us, but from now on whenever you ask us for another terrorist, as long as I am in office, you will not get them," he said.

Gulen, 76, lives in rural Pennsylvania. The influential Sunni Muslim cleric fled Turkey for the U.S. in 1999 and was subsequently granted permanent resident status.

Turkey is the biggest Muslim majority country in NATO and an important U.S. ally in the Middle East.

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