12:36 GMT27 February 2021
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    It is necessary to separate the request put forward by Turkey to the United States for extradition of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and the relationships between Ankara and Washington amid the situation at Incirlik airbase, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — Fethullah Gulen is believed by Ankara to be the mastermind behind the recent military coup attempt.

    "We must not confound the issue of extradition of Gulen and the relations with the United States over air base Incirlik. Relations with other countries should not be built on feelings and emotions, but based on logic. Of course, it would be a big mistake on the part of the United States not to extradite Gulen. We've sent all the necessary documents to the United States, we've begun the extradition process, and we will wait for the decision," Erdogan said in an interview with Al Jazeera broadcaster.

    Electricity to the airbase used by the US-led coalition against Daesh has been cut off since Saturday, when a coup attempt against the Turkish government by elements of the Turkish armed forces took place.

    In July 2015, Turkey agreed to open up Incirlik to US manned and unmanned aircraft to conduct anti-terror operations in Syria against Daesh positions. Daesh is a terrorist group outlawed in many countries including Russia.

    Earlier in the day, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said the military relationship between Turkey and the United States had not changed following last week’s failed military coup.

    On Tuesday, Gulen urged the US authorities to reject efforts to abuse the extradition process for carrying out "political vendettas." He denied any involvement in the coup attempt in Turkey.


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