18:26 GMT08 August 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States must ensure per its treaties cleric Fethullah Gulen is given due process amid reports of his possible removal to Turkey, the Hizmet-affiliated Alliance for Shared Values (AFSV) said in a statement on Thursday.

    Earlier in the day, US media reported that the White House is considering sending Gulen, the founder and inspiration of the Hizmet civil society movement, to Turkey to persuade Ankara to ease pressure on the Saudi government over the death of columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Ankara has accused Gulen of being involved in a coup to overthrow the Turkish government.

    "We are alarmed at reports that the administration is exploring the possible removal of Fethullah Gulen from the United States," AFSV said. "Sending Mr. Gulen to Turkey almost certainly would lead to his death. We hope and expect that the United States government will abide by all conditions of its laws and treaties to ensure that due process is followed."

    The Turkish government is trying to use the murder of Khashoggi as a bargaining chip in order to get Gulen extradited, the AFSV said.

    The AFSV added that the Turkish government has repeatedly failed to provide appropriate evidence to the United States to back accusations that Gulen was responsible for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, in which Gulen has denied any involvement.

    READ MORE: White House Mulling to Extradite Gulen From US to Appease Erdogan — Reports

    In a press briefing on Thursday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the United States continues to evaluate the materials the Turkish government presented as part of its request to extradite Gulen. She added that the issues of Gulen and Khashoggi are unrelated.

    Nauert also said she spoke with White House officials about the matter and they notified her that they have not been involved in any discussions related to the extradition of Gulen.

    US Department of Justice spokesperson Nicole Navas Oxman told Sputnik the Justice Department declined to comment on the matter.

    Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Tina Jagerson told Sputnik the FBI had no comment, adding that questions on the matter should be directed to the Justice Department.

    Gulen has lived in a compound in a rural area of the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999.

    Erdogan has accused Gulen and his followers of orchestrating a failed coup in July 2016 that left 251 people dead and 2,200 injured. Since then, approximately 80,000 people have been arrested in Turkey over their alleged links to Gulen.


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