Who is Fethullah Gulen? And why is the US talking about extraditing him to Turkey?

webrns-gulen-extradition2-010419Source: Religion News Service

By Claire Sadar

(RNS) — For the past 2½ years, the United States and its NATO ally, Turkey, have been at odds over the fate of Fethullah Gulen, a relatively little-known Muslim cleric living in the mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania.

His followers believe he is a peaceful emissary of interreligious dialogue and secular education. The Turkish government maintains he is a traitor and terrorist, the mastermind behind a July 2016 coup attempt that resulted in the death of 265 Turkish civilians. They want him extradited back to his homeland.

This week, a delegation from the U.S. traveled to Turkey to discuss his fate, according to published reports.

The Turkish government has made Gulen’s extradition one of the central points of its foreign policy. The United States has demurred, claiming that Turkey has not presented sufficient evidence against Gulen to justify extradition proceedings.

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