Turkey Asks US to Arrest Gulen for Umpteenth Time

Fethullah GulenFethullah Gulen

Turkey has asked Washington to arrest a US-based religious leader and businessman for allegedly masterminding a failed attempt to overthrow the government, according to state media.

The Turkish Justice Ministry formally demanded that US authorities arrest Fethullah Gulen on charges of "ordering and commanding the attempted coup", the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top Turkish officials have repeatedly appealed to the US government to extradite Gulen, sending them documents that allegedly show evidence of his involvement in the failed coup attempt on July 15.

Gulen has denied any involvement in the coup bid.

A delegation of US officials visited Ankara late last month to hold talks over Turkey's request for Gulen's extradition.

The development marked the first concrete and public sign of progress in Turkey's efforts to get him returned to the country. Turkey’s failed coup strains relations with the West.

Early last month, an Istanbul court issued a formal arrest warrant for Gulen.

When US Vice President Joe Biden visited Ankara several weeks later, he said he understood the "intense feeling" in Turkey over Gulen.

The US has "no interest whatsoever in protecting anyone who has done harm to an ally. None," he said.

"But we need to meet the legal standard requirement under our law," he added.