Turkey's President calls upon US to extradite rival blamed for coup attempt

Turkish authorities detained thousands of judges after thwarting a coup by rebels using tanks and attack helicopters to try to topple Erdogan. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Istanbul Jul 17, 2016, 01.32 AM (IST)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on US President Barack Obama on Saturday to extradite US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen to Turkey.

Erdogan blames G?len for the failed coup. There has been tension between G?len and Erdogan for years. In 2013, Erdogan blamed G?len loyalists in the police and the courts for launching an anti-corruption probe, that targetted, among others, the President's son. The Guardian newspaper reports that Amsterdam cited Turkish intelligence sources who claim, "there are signs that G?len is working closely with certain members of military leadership against the elected civilian government". WION was not able to confirm this independently.

"After this coup attempt, once again I call on him (Obama). I say: 'Give this person in Pennsylvania to Turkey already.' I call on the United States, if we are strategic partners, if we are model partners, please comply with your partner's request, because we give you every terrorist you wanted from us," Erdogan told his supporters demonstrating outside his house in Istanbul.

Turkish authorities rounded up nearly 3,000 suspected military plotters on Saturday and ordered thousands of judges detained after thwarting a coup by rebels using tanks and attack helicopters to try to topple Erdogan.

For several hours overnight on Friday, violence shook Turkey's two main cities, as the armed faction which tried to seize power blocked a bridge in Istanbul and strafed the headquarters of Turkish intelligence and parliament in Ankara.

At least 265 people were killed. An official said 161 of them were mostly civilians and police officers, while the remaining 104 were coup supporters.