World

Turkish, US officials discuss US-based cleric’s extradition

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish and American justice officials met on Tuesday to discuss Turkey’s demands for the extradition of a US-based cleric accused of masterminding last month’s failed coup attempt.

The meeting came ahead of a visit to Ankara on Wednesday by Vice President Joe Biden, during which he will discuss the extradition request and other issues.

Advertisement

During the talks, Turkish Justice Ministry officials would share with the visiting US Justice Department and State Department officials ‘‘evidence and testimonies obtained until now’’ concerning Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen’s involvement in the July 15 coup, the ministry said in a statement.

Gulen, who has lived in Pennsylvania for the past 17 years in self-imposed exile, has denied any connection to the coup attempt that claimed at least 270 lives.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The US government has asked for firm evidence before considering extradition.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Turkey has formally requested Gulen’s extradition. But Toner said the request doesn’t relate to the recent coup attempt in Turkey.

‘‘We are now considering the merits of the request,’’ Toner told reporters.

Advertisement

The Turkish ministry said officials have sent four files — amounting to a total of 6,382 pages — containing evidence and extradition requests compiled by courts in Istanbul, Ankara, and the northwestern city of Bursa.

The government has declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on Gulen’s supporters in the aftermath of the coup, raising concerns among Turkey’s allies and human rights groups.

On Tuesday, the military extended the terms of hundreds of apparently trusted colonels. A high military council meeting regrouping military leaders and government ministers extended by two additional years the service terms of 434 colonels, the Defense Ministry announced. It said 586 other colonels were retired from the Turkish Armed Forces.

During a stop in Riga, the Latvian capital, Biden suggested that Donald Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about on foreign policy and told NATO allies to ignore him.

‘‘Don’t listen to that other fellow. He knows not of what he speaks,’’ Biden said in a speech to Baltic leaders on Tuesday.

Biden held bilateral talks with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis and Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis.

The vice president will be the first high-level US official to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since the coup attempt.

Some Turkish officials have alleged that the United States was involved in the unsuccessful uprising and has been insufficiently sympathetic to the subsequent arrest of tens of thousands of alleged coup backers in the military and across a wide spectrum of society.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.