ISTANBUL: Turkey is seeking the extradition of 32 diplomats who went on the run after they were recalled by Ankara as part of investigations into last month’s failed coup attempt, the foreign minister said on Friday.
Utv Pakistan Report
Turkish authorities have arrested, detained or dismissed tens of thousands of people, including military personnel, civil servants, judges and teachers, following the July 15 coup bid which President Tayyip Erdogan has blamed on a network led by a U.S.-based cleric.
The purge is worrying Western allies concerned about stability in the NATO member and partner in the fight against Daesh. But Turkish officials are angered over a perceived lack of sympathy by Western officials who they say are more worried about the crackdown than the coup itself.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking at a news conference in Ankara with his Iranian counterpart, said a total of 208 Turkish diplomats had been recalled as part of the coup investigation, but 32 of them had fled to other countries.
“We have been in contact with the countries where they fled and are working on their extradition,” he said.
Three military attaches have also gone on the run, including two who fled from Greece to Italy, and another who fled Bosnia, the minister said, without specifying where the third attache had gone.
Two Turkish generals based in Afghanistan who travelled to Dubai and another attache who was working in Saudi Arabia have all already been sent back to Turkey.
The extradition moves expand a domestic purge that authorities say targets a “parallel state” set up by followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating the coup plot.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for years, denies any part in the putsch.
“If a tenth of accusations against me are established, I pledge to return to Turkey and serve the heaviest sentence,” Gulen said in an opinion piece in French daily Le Monde on Friday.