Turkey wants US to speed up Gülen's extradition, PM Yıldırım says

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 20.08.2016 13:10
Updated 21.08.2016 18:37
Turkey wants US to speed up Gülen's extradition, PM Yıldırım says

Turkey will ask the U.S. to speed up Gülenist terror-cult leader Fetullah Gülen's extradition process, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Saturday in a meeting with representatives from foreign media institutions in Istanbul.

"We want the process to be accelerated ... this man was the leader of the coup. What are we waiting for? The agreement between the two countries is clear." Washington has asked for evidence of Gülen's involvement and says the regular extradition process must take its course.

Turkey will take a more active role in addressing the conflict in Syria in the next six months to prevent the war-torn country from being divided on ethnic lines, Yıldırım said.

He added that while Bashar al-Assad could have a role in the interim leadership, he must play no part in its future.

Syria's more than five-year conflict has taken on an ethnic dimension, with Kurdish groups carving out their own regions and periodically battling groups from Syria's Arab majority whose priority is to get rid of Assad.

Yıldırım also ruled out a new peace initiative with the PKK terror organization. He said "there is no new peace process. We would not enter into a dialogue with a terror organization."

His comments came as the PKK terror organization increased its bomb attacks targeting police and military. More than a dozen people were killed in attacks this week.

Turkey fears the strengthening of Kurdish terrorist groups in Syria will further embolden its own Kurdish insurgency, which flared anew following the collapse of a ceasefire between militants and the state last year.

Domestic and external intelligence operations will also be placed under an umbrella structure for better coordination between the two and to help prevent another coup attempt, Yıldırım added.

The overhaul is part of an effort to fix its intelligence network following the failed July 15 putsch, when a group of rogue soldiers commandeered tanks, fighter jets and helicopters in an attempt to overthrow the government.

Representatives from foreign media institutions like Associated Press, AFP, Reuters, DPA, Xinhua, Bloomberg, CNN International, ARD, Al Jazeera Arabic, France 24, Al Araby TV Network, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Asahi Shimbun, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Le Figaro and The Times were present at the meeting.

Turkey-based news outlets Anadolu Agency English and Arabic, TRT World and Hürriyet Daily News also attended the meeting along with Daily Sabah.

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