14:14 GMT02 March 2021
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    Turkish authorities must provide evidence showing that Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen committed a crime before the United States can extradite him, former US federal prosecutor Nick Akerman told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Late on Friday, Turkish authorities said that an attempted military coup took place in the country, which they blamed on a group led by Gulen. Ankara called on the Obama administration to extradite Gulen who lives in self-imposed exile within the United States.

    "The guy [Gulen] has to be indicted for a crime," Akerman told Sputnik on Monday. "It is hard to imagine because they [Turkish authorities] suspect him of doing something with a coup that that’s enough — unless they have him charged with some criminal act."

    The major question, Akerman added, is how Ankara is going to prove that Gulen has committed the type of crime that would qualify under the extradition treaty.

    "I mean, are they just going on a hunch or something? I don’t know what would be extraditable here necessarily — I suppose an attempt to overthrow the government might be."

    Normally, Akerman argued, the person accused of the crime can get a lawyer to fight the extradition charges and, ultimately, it has to go through a US court where a judge will make the final determination, which can be a lengthy process.

    Earlier on Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a briefing that the United States had not received an extradition request from Turkey.

    Akerman is a former Watergate prosecutor and Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of New York.


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