Istanbul, July 17 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday reiterated a call for his US counterpart Barack Obama to hand over the leader of an opposition movement accused of being behind the coup attempt in Turkey.
“Please meet our request if we are strategic partners,” Xinhua news agency quoted Erdogan as saying in remarks delivered in Istanbul.
The Turkish leader has blamed the movement led by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar living in the US state of Pennsylvania, for the unsuccessful coup that started on Friday night.
“I asked you previously either to deport him or surrender him to Turkey,” Erdogan said, referring to Obama. “I told you that he is considering the coup d’etat, but you didn’t listen.”
The Turkish leader’s audience chanted, demanding “the execution of Fethullah”.
Ankara has been accusing the Gulen Movement of running a parallel state and trying to topple the Turkish government.
As many as 2,839 Turkish troops are now detained over suspected involvement in the failed coup, but Erdogan stated that “The Turkish army does not belong to the parallel structure”.
The president urged his audience to shun schools run by the Gulen Movement for their children.
Erdogan’s extradition request is expected to further heighten tensions between Ankara and Washington, as the NATO allies have long been in dispute over the treatment of Kurds in Syria.