The president of Turkey, Recep Erdogan, in the immediate aftermath of Turkey’s failed military coup on Friday, accused exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen of being the mastermind behind the plot. The Turkish government, just days later, has now formally requested, according to the Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım,the extradition of the cleric from Pennsylvania, where he currently resides.
The crackdown on dissent inside Turkey has grown more ruthless since the coup. extraditing Gulen from the United States would be a major victory for the Erdogan government, showing his people that no one in opposition is out of their reach, even those critics residing overseas.
The United States is considering the extradition request carefully. To deny the request could further strain US-Turkish relations, countries that have been at odds over how to conduct regime change in Syria, and Turkey’s support for ISIS. Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement, reminding Turkish officials that any request must meet a specific set of standards, including evidence of wrongdoing by Gulen.