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US could extradite Gulen quickly: Turkish minister

Foreign minister urges US to speed up consideration of whether businessman blamed for failed coup should be extradited.

Mevlut Cavusoglu

The United States does not need to take years to extradite a US-based businessman accused by Turkey of masterminding a failed coup, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

Fethullah Gulen condemned the attempt to topple the government and denied any involvement.

Washington has said Ankara must first provide clear evidence of Gulen's involvement and lawyers have said any extradition process could take years.

"If you want to draw out the Gulen extradition issue it can take years, but if you are decisive it can be completed in a short period," Cavusoglu told state broadcaster TRT Haber on Friday.

Cavusoglu also urged Athens to extradite soldiers who fled to Greece after the coup attempt failed. A Greek court handed down a two-month suspended sentence to the eight Turkish personnel on Thursday.

Turkey has branded the men "traitors" and "terrorist elements". Greece has said it is considering asylum requests from the men and pledged to come to a decision quickly.

The soldiers will be interviewed by immigration authorities on July 27 for the second time.

Separately, Bekir Bozdag, Turkey's justice minister, said on Friday in an interview with CNN Turk that any decision to bring back the death penalty should be considered from a legal standpoint and not based on European Union opinion.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in the wake of the coup attempt that reinstating the measure was being considered. Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 under reforms aimed at obtaining European Union membership.

Any reinstatement would create further issues between the EU and Ankara in already stalled membership talks.


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