Turkey: US starts arrest of Gulen movement members

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Monday told the parliament that US authorities have been arresting members of FETÖ organization of Pennsylvania-based Turkish cleric Fetullah Gulen accused by Ankara for orchestrating the July 2016 botched military coup against President President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Çavuşoğlu, addressing the Parliament plenary session for the presentation of the 2019 central government budget, said the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has begun investigation in 15 states on members of the Turkish oversea organization, viewed by Ankara as terror group, Daily Sabah reports.

“The FBI told us that they have begun to see the dark side of the FETÖ through their findings. Arrests have also been made in some places like New Jersey,” Çavuşoğlu said.

The Turkish top diplomat also indicated that Ankara has handed over to President Donald Trump’s administration names of 84 people allegedly connected to the Gulen movement.

The announcement about investigations and arrests came after Trump told Erdogan Saturday that his administration has begun working on Gulen’s extradition.

Both leaders, Çavuşoğlu said, discussed the case of the former Erdogan ally who has gone into self-imposed exile since 1999.

“Our president brought it up in Argentina [at his meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the G20 Summit]. Trump specifically said ‘we are working for the extradition of the FETÖ terrorist leader,” Trump was quoted as saying by the Turkish official.

Ankara has been pressing for Gulen’s extradition. Turkish authorities have held the man and his organization, which runs dozens of schools, businesses around the world, responsible for the July 2016 failed coup that aimed to topple Erdogan.

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