Over 72,000 people signed an online petition on the official White House website urging the U.S. to stop providing safe haven to Fethullah Gülen and to extradite him to Turkey, as pressure mounts on the US to hand him over.
The petition underscores that Gülen is considered as the leader of a terrorist organization, and the U.S. should cooperate with the democratically elected government of Turkey as an ally.
"On July 15, 2016 there was a coup attempt to overthrow the legitimately and democratically elected government of Turkey. Since then it has become clear that the perpetrators were a small group of soldiers loyal to Gülen and his FETÖ terrorist organization," the petition said.
The petition was launched after a group within the military tried to stage a coup, raising anxiety and bringing memories of what many Turks had hoped was a bygone era of periodic coups by the country's historically powerful military.
100,000 signatures need to be collected by August 16, 2016 to get a response from the White House.
Approximately 250 people were killed by pro-coup soldiers who blocked bridges and airports, attempted a media blackout and went as far as bombing Parliament and other key buildings, as well as people and law enforcement officials.
Gülen's followers have opened numerous schools in the U.S. and he is believed to hold financial assets worth billions of dollars.
Here's the link to the petition: I would like our government to stop providing a safe haven to Fethullah Gulen and I want him delivered to Turkey