Turkish MPs to press US officials on Gulen extradition

The extradition of Fetullah Gulen will be one of the hot topics during a visit to Washington by a Turkish parliamentary delegation, a Justice and Development (AK) Party deputy said Tuesday, according to Anadolu Agency.

“July 15 coup attempt and its aftermath, as well as extradition of Gulen and the developments in Syria would be the main topics that we would be talking about,” the party’s Istanbul Deputy Ravza Kavakci Kan told Anadolu Agency.

Kan said the party’s Deputy Chairman for Foreign Relations Mehdi Eker is leading the delegation during the four-day visit this week.

The group will meet members of Congress, civil society and opinion leaders as well as media representatives.

The parliamentarians will discuss with American officials the legal process of extradition of Gulen for his role in establishing a quasi-state within the Turkish state and ultimately leading the bloody overthrow attempt.

Turkey submitted evidence of the activities of the Gulen-led Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and a formal request for his extradition last month, she said.

“We will talk about what we can do beyond that,” she said, noting the group would tell Americans that Gulen and his secretive organization is not only a threat to Turkey but also the U.S.

The head of the Turkish-American Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, Ali Sarikaya, said the group will also ask American officials to stand with Turkey against FETO, Daesh and PKK/PYD terrorism.

“What we expect from them is to stand with Turkey for its very right cause, to stand with Turkish democracy, to hand over the leader of this terror group — which attempted to harm Turkish democracy and nation — to the Turkish justice,” Sarikaya said.

He said he asked American congressmen for their support for Turkey’s demand for Gulen’s extradition in a letter to lawmakers after the overthrow attempt.

“I hope and wish that American strategic mind would not prefer a terrorist organization to Turkey,” he added.

The lawmaker also said the delegation would call on American leaders to consider Turkey’s concerns with respect to PYD/PKK elements in northern Syria regarding their separatist motivations inside the war-torn country and being a threat to Turkish national security.

The U.S. has been providing support to the YPG, the military wing of PYD/PKK, in its fight against Daesh but Ankara has long objected to that Washington policy, citing the group’s terrorist ties to PKK elements in Turkey.

“We will re-emphasis that PYD and YPG are no different from PKK,” he said. “We will tell them about our efforts for a unified and democratic Syria.”

He added that Turkey and the U.S. need each other more than ever amid turmoil in the Middle East, noting his support for a Turkish-American strategic partnership.