The Wall Street Journal reports: The Obama administration’s receipt on Tuesday of a cache of documents from Turkey as part of Ankara’s demand for the extradition of a U.S.-based cleric resident it blames for instigating last week’s failed coup formally kick-starts a lengthy process that holds far-reaching implications for the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State and for relations between two key allies.
Turkish officials said the material, sent by email, contains evidence that would prove Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in Pennsylvania for nearly two decades, was behind the attempted coup.
Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told reporters that government evidence shows that “a clique” of Mr. Gulen’s followers serving in the Turkish army carried out the failed coup.
In response, Mr. Gulen called Turkey’s extradition demand “ridiculous, irresponsible and false” and said he had nothing to do with the “horrific” failed coup.
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today once again demonstrated he will go to any length necessary to solidify his power and persecute his critics,” Mr. Gulen said. “I urge the U.S. government to reject any effort to abuse the extradition process to carry out political vendettas.”
The White House said the Justice Department had begun to review the documents as part of a process that ultimately would require U.S. federal court action for approval of an extradition, while distancing President Barack Obama from the final decision. [Continue reading…]