President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey has informed Canadian officials about their concerns concerning allegations that Gülenist Terrorist Group (FETÖ) leader Fetullah Gülen, who orchestrated the July 15 coup attempt, may escape to Canada. Government spokesman Numan Kurtulmuş said on Monday that they have intelligence that suggests FETÖ members have purchased "land and farms" in Canada, and that Fetullah Gülen, who currently resides in Pennsylvania, may escape to Canada. Responding to journalists' questions on his way back from Pakistan on March 1, President Erdoğan said Canadian officials have been informed about Turkey's concerns on this issue. "However, there is no serious information about these allegations [Gülen's escape to Canada] at the moment," Erdoğan said.
Over recent weeks, Justice Minister Bekir Minister Bozdağ asserted that FETÖ members may choose to flee to Canada because the country has no extradition agreement with Turkey, adding that FETÖ is also seeking suitable hideout locations in South Africa, Brazil and Egypt. Moreover, Turkish news outlets reported on Feb. 27 that Turkey had sent Washington information regarding Gülen's property in Canada following a request from U.S. authorities. The information sent to the U.S. included the address of the property, when it was bought and who purchased it.
Regarding these allegations, an official at the Canadian Embassy in Ankara said at the moment they have no reason to believe Gülen intends to come to Canada. "The Canadian government continues to offer our full support and cooperation to Turkey in pursuing any criminal or terrorist activity in Canada and will act on any evidence provided.
At this time, we have no reason to believe that Mr. Gülen intends to come to Canada," an Embassy official said. "If the Turkish government has any information to the contrary, we would ask that they share it with the relevant Canadian authorities," Canadian official added.
Gülen, the mastermind of the failed July 15 coup attempt, has a long record involving a controversial campaign to overthrow the Turkish government by infiltrating state institutions, the judiciary and security forces and has lived in self-imposed exile on a 400-acre property in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania since 1999.
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