Turkey criticizes US over Muslim cleric accused of coup plot - Firstpost
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Turkey criticizes US over Muslim cleric accused of coup plot

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Istanbul: A top Turkish official on Friday accused the United States of "standing up for savages" by not immediately handing over a US-based Muslim cleric who the government claims orchestrated last week's failed coup.

Speaking in Washington, President Barack Obama said there was a legal process for extradition and encouraged Turkey to present evidence.

In a sign of increasing tension, Turkey said it was dispatching its justice and interior ministers to the United States next week to push for the extradition of the cleric, Fethullah Gulen.

The two Nato countries are allies in the fight against the Islamic State group; American military jets have been flying missions against extremists in Iraq and Syria out of the Turkish air base at Incirlik.

US officials said Friday that electric power was restored to the Incirlik base, which had been operating on a backup generator since July 16, when power was shut off at all military bases in Turkey following the failed coup.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks after an emergency meeting of the government in Ankara, Turkey, late Wednesday, July 20, 2016. Erdogan on Wednesday declared a three-month state of emergency following a botched coup attempt, declaring he would rid the military of the "virus" of subversion and giving the government sweeping powers to expand a crackdown.(AP Photo)

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks after an emergency meeting of the government in Ankara, Turkey, late Wednesday, July 20, 2016. Erdogan on Wednesday declared a three-month state of emergency following a botched coup attempt, declaring he would rid the military of the "virus" of subversion and giving the government sweeping powers to expand a crackdown.(AP Photo)

Meanwhile, Turkey's prime minister, Binali Yildirim, warned that coup plotters still at large might stage attacks, saying there is "a remote chance some madmen might take action, acting out of a sense of revenge and defeat."

Turkey has launched a sweeping crackdown following the failed 15 July insurrection, declaring a three-month state of emergency and detaining or dismissing tens of thousands of people in the military and other state institutions.

In the latest measures, the government revoked nearly 11,000 passports and detained 283 members of the presidential guard, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkey alleges that the coup attempt by some military units was conceived by Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since the late 1990s. Gulen has denied any prior knowledge of the coup attempt.

Yildirim criticized the United States for failing to hand over the cleric, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's most dominant political figure for more than a decade.

"Stop standing up for savages who run over citizens with tanks, who strafe people from land and the air," Yildirim
said.

Some Turks, possibly influenced by traditional mistrust of US policy in the region, have speculated that the United States is protecting Gulen and knew about the plot to overthrow the Turkish government.

In his comments today, Obama said any reports that the United States had previous knowledge of the coup attempt or has been anything other than supportive of Turkey's government are "unequivocally false."

First Published On : Jul 23, 2016 10:40 IST

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