Turkey confident on extradition of Gülen under Trump administration

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
ANKARA
Published 23.01.2017 23:10
Updated 23.01.2017 23:11

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş addressed the media after a Cabinet meeting Monday, reiterating the Turkish government's two primary expectations of the newly sworn in Donald Trump administration, the extradition of U.S.-based Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader Fetullah Gülen and the halting of U.S. support for the PKK's Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

The revelation comes on the heels of the inauguration of Donald Trump who took the Oval Office as the 45th president of the U.S. on Friday. Despite recent tensions with Washington, Turkish officials are confident that, compared to the Barack Obama administration, the new administration will usher in a new era of cooperation for the NATO-ally, especially in the counterterrorism fight against Daesh and FETÖ.

"Especially in efforts to revamp Turkish-U.S. relations, we expect the Trump administration to conduct a re-assessment of its position on Turkey and reconsider its position on two primary matters, the first of which is the extradition of the retired preacher Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. as the purported leader of an outlawed Turkish gang which conducted crimes against the nation during the failed July 15 coup attempt. The second fundamental matter is halting U.S. support for the PYD," the deputy prime minister asserted.

Emphasizing Turkey's hopes that the new U.S. administration will not repeat the mistakes of the previous administration, Kurtulmuş also said that, "It is our aim to bring bilateral relations back to the level that is required between two, long-standing allies."

Under the Obama administration, Turkish-U.S. relations deteriorated significantly due to Obama's insistent claims that the PKK and the YPG are not one-in-the-same, regardless of mounting evidence and statements made by YPG terrorists.

Thus, Turkey's deputy prime minister said that he is confident Turkey will see results under the Trump administration, further referring to the PYD as, "An armed group with a few militants who are accountable for the instability of the region."

"The PYD, an armed group with few militants, is clearly a contributing factor to the region's instability. Turkey urges the U.S. to stop supporting the group on the grounds that it is affiliated with the PKK and engages in terror activities. We are hopeful that we will yield results regarding this matter, as well. If these two expectations are met, Turkish-U.S. bilateral relations will be restored and strengthened once again. I do hope that this new administration moves forward by making decisions that contribute not only to Turkish-American relations but also to world peace and stability in the Middle East," Kurtulmuş added.

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