World Bulletin / News Desk
Bekir Bozdag said “intelligence” showed Fetullah Gulen, who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999, was planning to escape to a country without an extradition treaty with Turkey.
Last week, Ankara filed extradition documents with the U.S. calling for Gulen to be returned to Turkey to face charges that he heads the Fetullah Organization, or FETO, behind the failed coup that resulted in at least 246 deaths.
“We think that he is searching for countries to run to, he has chosen some countries,” Bozdag said during an interview with the A Haber TV network. He identified Egypt, Mexico, Canada, Australia and South Africa as countries where Turkey believes Gulen could seek refuge.
Bozdag added: “He especially picks the countries that do not have any extradition agreement with Turkey and he may flee any moment.”
According to the White House, the U.S. is reviewing the extradition request.
Turkey has repeatedly accused Gulen and his supporters of being behind the failed coup.
The Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, who was held hostage by pro-coup soldiers, has described how one of his captors offered to let him speak to “our leader Fetullah Gulen” on the telephone.
Before the coup bid, the government had said Gulen was behind efforts to subvert the state through supporters placed in public bodies such as the judiciary and police, a phenomenon known as the “parallel state”.