Turkey has formally asked the U.S. to extradite a Turkish national living in Pennsylvania in four separate requests, yet none shows proof of the cleric's alleged role in last month's failed military coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.
Erdogan's government suspects the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, instigated the attempted overthrow of the democratically-elected Erdogan but provided no proof in the documents submitted to the Justice and State departments for review, the official said.
The paperwork alleges criminal behavior on Gulen's part, all of which predate the attempted coup, said the official who was traveling with Vice President Joe Biden to Ankara. None of the information shows even a possible connection between Gulen and the coup perpetrators, the official said.
The Obama administration says it is taking the NATO ally's request seriously, but has made clear that there are strict procedures for reviewing and granting extradition requests.
Additionally, the official traveling with Biden reiterated that President Obama cannot just hand Gulen over to Ankara. Those decisions are made by officials at the Justice and State departments and governed by treaty.