15:46 Jul. 18, 2016
Relations between the two NATO partners sour as Turkey demands Fethullah Gülen's extradition
Ankara may reconsider its ties with the US if Washington refuses to extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who has been named by Turkey as the mastermind of the attempted July 15 military coup. That's according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Hurriet Daily News reports.
"Even questioning our friendship may be brought to the agenda here. Nonetheless, our Justice Ministry is conducting the necessary work," the Prime Minister said at a July 18 press conference.
Yıldırım also said the coup attempt was the best evidence for Gülen's extradition, as US State Secretary John Kerry had earlier requested Turkey to send the evidence according to an extradition procedure.
"We will be a little bit disappointed if our friends say 'show us the evidence' while there are members of this organization which is trying to destroy a state and a person who instructs it," the premier said.
Yıldırım has previously stated US's "standing behind this man [Gülen]" would be a "hostile act against Turkey."
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has earlier accused US-based Fethullah Gülen in orchestrating the coup. In his statement he claimed the instruction for the mutiny had been sent from Pennsylvania. Kerry denied the allegations over US's involvement in the coup, saying they were "utterly false and harmful to bilateral relations."
In a July 16 statement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his US counterpart Barack Obama to hand over US-based Gülen. "If we are strategic and model partners, please meet this demand of your partner," he said.