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Turkey formally requests arrest of US-based cleric Gulen

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By Natalie Huet
Turkey formally requests arrest of US-based cleric Gulen

Turkey has asked Washington to arrest US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen for allegedly ordering and commanding the July coup attempt, state media reported on Tuesday.

It’s the first formal request for the US to arrest Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania and has denied any involvement in the failed putsch.

Turkish officials have been informally asking for his extradition for weeks.

US Vice President Joe Biden said last month he understood the “intense feeling” in Turkey over Gulen.

But he told President Erdogan the US needed to meet its own legal standards on the case.

Late on July 15 in Ankara and Istanbul, rogue soldiers used tanks and fighter jets to bomb parliament and control bridges in a bid to seize power, but were defeated by pro-government supporters. More than 270 people were killed in the uprising.

Turkey has blamed members of Gulen’s religious movement for the violent coup attempt, and tens of thousands of suspected Gulen supporters have been dismissed from jobs in the judiciary, armed services or media, with many imprisoned.

The US said last month it had received a formal extradition request for Gulen from Ankara, but said at the time it did not relate to the July coup attempt, rather to issues for which he was being sought by authorities in Ankara.

With agencies