09:04 GMT +326 March 2019
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    View of Istanbul with the Bosporus and the Bosporus Bridge in Turkey. (File)

    About Face: Turkish Foreign Minister Claims Trump Will Extradite Fethullah Gulen

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    US President Donald Trump is planning to extradite exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen to Turkey, according to a Sunday statement by Ankara’s foreign minister.

    Turkey accused Gulen, who has been living in the United States since 1999, of orchestrating a 2016 failed military coup in the nation. Gulen has consistently denied his involvement in the coup. 

    A coup attempt, primarily involving members of the army, took place across the country on July 15, 2016. Most of the struggle happened in the capital city of Ankara and in Istanbul. Over 240 Turkish citizens were killed and over 2,000 wounded during the unsuccessful military takeover.

    "In Argentina, Trump told Erdogan they were working on extraditing Gulen and other people," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a Sunday news conference in Doha, Qatar, referring to the G20 summit in which the two leaders met two weeks ago.

    "We need to see concrete steps," Cavusoglu added, indicating that Trump's purported assertion to Erdogan may have been an empty gesture.

    Some sources claim that the US might be considering using Gulen as a bargaining chip to placate Turkey for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, NBC News reported last month.

    In spite of eye-opening evidence of guilt, Trump has not held Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — a key Middle East ally — responsible for Khashoggi's murder, leading sources to believe that Trump could be open to Turkey's wishes in exchange for Erdogan easing pressure off the Saudi monarchy. 

    In a Tuesday statement released by the White House, Trump boasted of cash profit to Washington due to US ties with Saudi Arabia, claiming that although Khashoggi's murder was an "unacceptable and horrible crime," Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was unaware of the incident, Sputnik previously reported.

    "Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" according to a Trump tweet.

    "That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," Trump declared.

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    Tags:
    coup attempt, coup, Jamal Khashoggi, Fethullah Gulen, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United States
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