07:43 GMT14 July 2020
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    Turkish authorities fear that Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, suspected by Ankara of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt, may flee the United States to Canada, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — Gulen, a Turkish Islamic preacher, has been living in exile in the United States since 1999. His followers have been accused by Ankara of being behind the July 15 military coup attempt by members of the Turkish military, when over 240 people were killed and some 2,000 were wounded.

    "We have prominent intelligence information that the FETO leader, residing in the United States, may escape to Canada, where he has land and households, which will enable him to live there. We have shared this information with the United States and we hope it will take all necessary measures," Kurtulmus told reporters in Ankara.

    Thousands of officials, chiefly education and legal employees, have been dismissed by Turkish authorities since the coup over alleged ties to the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). Gulen, however, has denounced the coup and denied any ties to its perpetrators.

    Ankara has repeatedly asked the United States to extradite Gulen.

    US President Donald Trump has assured Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he would take the issue of extradition of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.



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