Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül criticized the U.S. yesterday for not responding to Ankara's demands to extradite Fetullah Gülen, the U.S.-based leader of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which was responsible for the last year's coup attempt on July 15.
The minister said that Gülen should have been extradited to Turkey in accordance with the 1979 extradition treaty between the two countries, and added, "If anyone who resides in Turkey would have been involved in an attack on the U.S., Turkey would immediately extradite that person to the U.S."
"Despite all the evidence and documents that we have presented, there has not been any improvement regarding the extradition," Gül told Anadolu Agency's Editor's Desk, adding that an extradition request was made even before the coup attempt.
"The deal we have with the U.S. states that extradition can proceed for any possible reason. This means that there is no need of proof of a person's guilt," Gül added, explaining that there have been five written requests from the courts so far and approximately 100 documents that prove Gülen's guilt have been provided to U.S. authorities.
According to Ankara, FETÖ and Gülen orchestrated the failed coup bid on July 15, 2016, which left 249 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured. FETÖ is accused of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through infiltration of the country's institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Ankara officially submitted evidence to the U.S. in October 2016, regarding Gülen's network that formed a quasi-state within the Turkish state and attempted to topple the government with the ultimate intent to take over the state through a vicious coup.
Despite Ankara's determined efforts, the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama took no action against the U.S.-based terrorist leader. Under normal procedures, Gülen should have already been arrested since Turkish authorities issued an official request for his extradition on Sept. 13 under a 1979 treaty between Turkey and the U.S.
Meanwhile, regarding the mutual suspension of visa services between the two countries, Gül said he hopes there will soon be positive developments. He made the comments a day after Turkish and U.S. delegations held discussions on the matter.
"The meeting was very productive," Gül said, adding that he hopes the next steps taken by both sides will provide even better results.
He noted that it is not possible to give a date for the resolution of the visa crisis and asserted that Turkey will retaliate in kind to the U.S.'s decisions.