Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Turkey will start extradition proceedings against US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Fethullah Gulen – a former ally of the Turkish prime minister – has been accused by Recep Tayyip Erdogan of using his supporters to try to topple him.
The cleric denies mounting a campaign against him.
Turkey’s government has faced a string of corruption scandals and rights groups accuse it of authoritarianism.
Speaking at parliament after meeting with deputies from his Justice and Development Party (AKP) party on Tuesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the extradition process “will begin”, reports say.
PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking hours after an interview with PBS, in which he said he hoped the US would deport Fethullah Gulen and send him back to Turkey.
It was his first interview with foreign media since his party claimed victory in local elections last month.
In the interview, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped Washington, as a “model partner”, would deliver on the issue.
“At least they should deport him,” he added.
Fethullah Gulen, 74, has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1997.
He has many supporters in the police and judiciary, and has denounced moves to shut down an investigation into corruption allegations leveled against several of the prime minister’s allies.
Fethullah Gulen’s teachings have inspired the Hizmet (“Service”) movement, which is believed to have millions of followers spread across over 150 countries.
Hizmet promotes a tolerant form of Islam, emphasizing education, altruism and hard work.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the movement of being behind a series of wiretaps and social media leaks allegedly exposing major corruption of figures with ties to the government.
Thousands of alleged Hizmet sympathizers in the police and judiciary have since been demoted or reassigned to other jobs.
Over the past year, Turkey has been convulsed by mass protests against Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ten-year rule and the corruption allegations.
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