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US is ‘working on’ extraditing Gulen, top Turkish official says

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s foreign minister said Sunday that the United States was “working on” extraditing Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim religious leader who is wanted in Turkey on charges that he instigated a failed coup there two years ago.

The presence of Gulen in the United States — he has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since the 1990s — is one of the major points of contention in the uneasy relations between the two NATO allies.

But Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that President Trump had told President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting at the recent Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires that his administration was “working on” the extradition request. Cavusoglu made the comments Sunday at a conference in Doha, Qatar.

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“Last time we met in Buenos Aires, President Trump told President Erdogan that they have been working on that,” he said, “but we need to see concrete steps because it has been already two years, almost three years.”

Turkey has repeatedly requested that Gulen be handed over, or that he be prosecuted in the United States. Turkish officials have often complained that the US government has done little with what Turkey says is 85 boxes of evidence in support of the case against the preacher that it has handed over.

Gulen has denied playing a role in the coup attempt.

New York Times