Fethullah Gulen has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania
since 1997 when secularist authorities raised accusations of
islamist activity against him. He denies engineering a police graft
investigation but has denounced Erdogan over moves to shut down the
inquiry by purging police and judiciary of his followers.
Asked by a reporter at parliament after a meeting of AK Party
deputies if a process will begin for his extradition from the United
States, Erdogan said: "yes, it will begin."
In an interview with PBS talk show host Charlie Rose broadcast late
on Monday, Erdogan said Gulen, a former ally with broad support in
the police and judiciary, could also pose a threat to U.S. security
by his activities.
"These elements which threaten the national security of Turkey
cannot be allowed to exist in other countries because what they do
to us here, they might do against their host," Erdogan told Rose in
the interview, according to a transcript.
He said Turkey had canceled his passport and that he remained in the
United States on a green card as a legal resident.
Gulen runs a network of businesses and schools, well-funded and
secular in nature, across the world. The schools are a major source
of influence and funding and have therefore become the target of
government efforts to have them shut down.
Erdogan accuses Gulen of contriving criminal allegations that his
son and the children of three ministers were involved in a
corruption scandal and took billions of dollars of bribes.
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He has also accused Gulen's Hizmet (Service) movement of bugging
thousands of phones and leaking audio recordings, including
purportedly of his foreign minister and senior security officials
discussing possible armed intervention in neighboring Syria, on the
website YouTube. Gulen has also denied these accusations.
The recordings appeared ahead of a March 30 municipal election, but
did little to affect Erdogan's popularity, with his AK Party
dominating the electoral map.
He said Turkey had complied with more than 10 extradition requests
from the United States and now expected the same response from its
NATO ally. He did not say whether Turkey had officially made an
(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; editing by Nick Tattersall and
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