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Erdogan warns US against refusing to extradite Gulen to Turkey

July 21, 2016, 9:05 UTC+3 ANKARA

The Turkish government believes Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric, who founded the Hizmet movement, is behind the failed military coup attempt

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ANKARA, July 21. /TASS/. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday it would be a big mistake for Washington if it refused to extradite oppositionist Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric suspected of being behind the Friday’s failed coup attempt in Turkey.

"Intellect should take precedence in relations between the countries, otherwise it will be a big mistake. That is why we will provide the US with all documents (giving grounds to extradite Gulen), part of which we have already sent," Erdogan told Al Jazeera television.

"We will be waiting for the decision of the US authorities. We must continue our cooperation with them. We have a lot of common points, and I believe they will soon start taking necessary actions in this process," the Turkish leader said.

It was earlier reported that the Turkish government believes Gulen, who founded the Hizmet movement, is behind the failed military coup attempt. In December 2014 a Turkish criminal court issued an arrest warrant for Gulen as he is accused of leading the Gulenist Terror Organization.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim earlier noted that Turkey might reconsider its friendly relations with the United States if Washington did not extradite Fethullah Gulen.

"The United States is our friend and strategic partner. We have close relations with them. However, I am telling them that there is a global threat, an attempt to overthrow the legitimate government, there is no religion and no religious values here," Yildirim said on Monday.

The prime minister added that it might "be necessary to reconsider friendship" with the US.

A group of insurgents attempted a coup in Turkey overnight to Saturday. According to latest reports, 290 people died and 1,491 more were injured. Over 6,000 people were arrested after a failed coup attempt.

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