The US Department of State offered assistance Turkish authorities in the extradition process of Fetullah Gülen as well as forming a joint team to work through the process.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said “We have offered, as the Justice Department has offered to assist Turkish authorities as they work through this extradition process. We’ve even offered to host a team, a Turkish team here or to send a team there, a joint team, to help them work through the process,”
Fetullah Gülen, the leader of the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) is accused of being behind the July 15 coup attempt when over 240 people were killed and over a thousand were injured by pro-coup Gülenist soldiers within the military.
Gülen is among Turkey’s most wanted, with the country exerting a tremendous effort to obtain an international arrest warrant for him. He lives in a compound owned by his movement in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. Ankara is seeking to secure his extradition from the U.S and has officially submitted the documents for extradition earlier this week.
Gülenists run a vast network of schools around the globe, but are primarily invested in charter schools in the U.S., which receive government funding but operate independent of the public school system. Dozens of schools associated with Gülenists are facing criticism and are under investigation over the alleged misuse of federal grants and the abuse of a visa scheme being used to funnel foreign teachers into charter schools who are brought from Turkey to live in the U.S.
FETÖ, which has seen its members and sympathizers purged from state institutions, including the police and judiciary, was designated by authorities as a national threat, a classification for terrorist organizations.
Gülenists are accused of illegally wiretapping thousands of people, from the prime minister to journalists and other prominent figures. They are also accused of imprisoning critics or anyone seen as an obstacle to the movement’s attempts to gain further clout through sham trials. Hundreds of generals, academics and others were detained for years in cases in which they were accused of attempting to stage coups. It was later revealed that they were detained on charges based on false evidence planted by Gülenist members of law enforcement.