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Presence of Cleric Gulen in US ‘Problem’ for Bilateral Ties With Turkey

© REUTERS / Baz RatnerPro-nationalist university students during a protest against U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers during a demonstration in Ankara, on July 21, 2016
Pro-nationalist university students during a protest against U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers during a demonstration in Ankara, on July 21, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Turkey considers the continued presence of dissident Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen in the United States as a problem in bilateral ties, Taha Ozhan, the head of the Turkish delegation that is on a visit to the United States in an effort to persuade Washington to extradite Gulen, said.

NEW YORK (Sputnik) – On July 15, an attempted coup took place in Turkey that was suppressed the following day. Over 240 people were killed during the coup attempt and an estimated 2,000 were wounded. Ankara has accused US-based dissident Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers of playing a key role in the coup.

"Gulen is still residing in Pennsylvania, United States. As long as he continues [to] live here, it’s not only a problem for bilateral relations and fight against global terrorism, but it’s also [a] threat [that] still continues," Gulen stressed, speaking in New York on Thursday.

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Ozhan stressed on Thursday that Turkey has an agreement with the United States which stipulates that "any criminal asked by the authorities of each party should be first detained then the extradition process should be legally started."

Gulen, who has lived in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied allegations that he orchestrated the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

On Thursday, US State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said that the United States is reviewing Turkish documents to determine if they are a formal request for Washington to extradite Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen on charges he attempted to overthrow the Turkish government.

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