17:27 GMT07 April 2020
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    Russia has been successful in thwarting the activities of the Gulen movement on its territory, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told Sputnik on Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Gulen movement, also referred to as the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) by Turkish security services, is led by Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen who has been living in exile in the United States since 1999.

    "Russia is in a better position as it was able to see the danger of the organization from the very beginning and thwart its activities on the Russian territory. We will seek to improve our cooperation with the Russian side on fighting FETO in the future," Kurtulmus said.

    Turkey has been sharing information on Gulen's organization with other parties over the past three years, he added, stressing that the country remains open for cooperation with any country in fighting against FETO.

    "The main and the most difficult task in this fight is to identify schools financed by the structure, its trade and economic links," Kurtulmus said, noting that the organization has been successful in infiltrating military and political structures in Asia, Africa and Europe.

    Gulen's followers have been accused by Ankara of being behind the July 15 military coup attempt by members of the Turkish military. Thousands of officials, chiefly education and legal employees, have been dismissed by Turkish authorities since the coup over alleged ties to FETO. Gulen, however, has himself denounced the coup and declared his innocence of ties to its perpetrators.

    At the same time, Kurtulmus hopes that the administration of US President-elect Donald Trump will take necessary steps to extradite Fethullah Gulen to Turkey.

    Ankara accused Gulen, who has been living in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, and his followers, of playing a key role in the thwarted July coup and has repeatedly called on the incumbent US administration led by President Barack Obama to extradite the cleric.

    "We hope that the process of Gulen's extradition [from the United States] to Turkey will gain momentum under the new [presidential] administration, while Washington will withdraw from cooperation with the PYD [Kurdish Democratic Union Party] and the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] and will start to act in the Middle East in a close contact with Turkey, which is a strategic ally of the United States within the framework of NATO," Kurtulmus said.

    He added that Trump's victory could contribute to the settlement of the ongoing Syrian conflict.

    "I think that Russia and the United States will enter into a period of close joint work, aimed at looking for ways to settle the Syrian problem," the official said.

    Trump won the US presidential elections on Tuesday with 290 electoral votes against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's 232.


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    coup attempt in Turkey, Numan Kurtulmus, Fethullah Gulen, Turkey, United States, Russia
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