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Turkey Issues Warrant For U.S.-Based Cleric

A court in Istanbul on August 4 issued a formal arrest warrant for the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen -- charging that Gulen was responsible for “ordering the July 15 coup” against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, strongly denies any involvement in the attempted coup.

"It is well-documented that the Turkish court system is without judicial independence, so this warrant is yet another example of President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan's drive for authoritarianism and away from democracy," Gulen said.

The movement Gulen leads insists that it is a charitable network that promotes tolerant Islam.

Ankara has repeatedly called on the United States to extradite Gulen but has not yet made a formal extradition request.

However, Turkey has sent two sets of documents to Washington since the coup -- saying it is evidence of Gulen’s involvement in the coup plot.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said Washington would consider an extradition request, but that there would have to be compelling evidence of Gulen's guilt before he would be extradited.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP