Biden wasted a trip, Turkey wasted time

THE EDITORIAL BOARD
ISTANBUL
Published 24.08.2016 20:48
Updated 25.08.2016 02:16

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Ankara on Wednesday, becoming the first top U.S. official to visit Turkey since the bloody coup attempt. His itinerary included a visit to Parliament, which was bombed on July 15 by Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) operatives who infiltrated the military. He met with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım first and and then met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Presidential Palace.

During his joint press conferences with Yıldırım and Erdoğan he parroted the same stale remarks Turkey has heard since July 15. He said the matter of the extradition of FETÖ leader Fethullah Gülen, someone who has found sanctuary in the U.S., needs to be resolved through the American judicial system and implied that the administration's hands were tied.

He came all the way from the U.S. just to mention the importance of rule of law of his own definition. However, according to the bilaterally signed International Extradition Treaty, detention is a measure to be taken, if request for extradition is granted. (Article 9: The Contracting Parties shall take all necessary measures after the information and documents related to the request for extradition have been received, including a search for the person sought. When located the person sought shall be detained until the competent authorities of the Requested Party reach their desicion. If the request for extradition is granted, the detention shall be continued until surrender.)

According to the article, it is clear that the U.S. is not following the required steps in Gülen's extradition process. The U.S. is not following its extradition treaty with Turkey and is instead treating the issue as a domestic problem that should be tried in U.S. federal courts. Why? Why is Mr. Biden not doing his best to fulfill the terms of the treaty and extradite Gülen, but rather obscuring the issue with messy legal processes? It is to save time, consume Turkey's energy and protect Gülen indirectly.

Unfortunately, Biden came and went without leaving a trace. His sly smile, insincere apology about not having come sooner and feeble remarks of friendship between the people will deservedly fall on deaf ears.

What an opportunity he and the U.S. administration wasted. As Daily Sabah, we would like to ask him two simple questions. Did he take this long trip to Turkey merely to say "it's in the hand of the courts?" Couldn't a simple intern in his office have conveyed the same message without creating all this fuss?

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