Erdogan: US Has No Excuse to Keep Gulen

Erdogan: US Has No Excuse to Keep GulenErdogan: US Has No Excuse to Keep Gulen

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said he would tell US Vice President Joe Biden that Washington has no excuse for not handing over the Pennsylvania-based cleric blamed for last month's failed coup.

Erdogan said Turkey would continue to provide US officials with documents to demand the extradition of Fethullah Gulen who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, Reuters reported.

Gulen, once an Erdogan ally, denies any involvement in the July 15 coup attempt and has condemned it. But Turkish officials say a network of Gulen supporters for years infiltrated Turkey's military and public offices to create a "parallel state".

"We will tell him that FETO's leader is in your country," Erdogan said, using an acronym for "Gulenist Terror Organization", the name Ankara has given Gulen's network.

"If a country wants a criminal in your country to be extradited, you have no rights to argue with that."

Erdogan said Turkey and Washington were strategic partners and keeping Gulen would not benefit the United States.

Biden, who arrived in Turkey on Wednesday, was guided by Turkish officials around the parliament, which was damaged during the coup attempt. He is also expected to meet with the prime minister.

Rogue troops commandeered tanks, jets and helicopters to attack state institutions in Istanbul and Ankara last month in the failed coup bid that killed 240 people and triggered a massive purge of thousands of suspected Gulen followers in Turkey's armed forces and civil service.