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Turkey Makes Formal Request To U.S. For Cleric's Arrest

Turkey has formally requested that the United States arrest U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen on charges of organizing an attempted military coup on July 15.

In a written appeal to the U.S. government on September 13, Turkey's Justice Ministry requested Gulen's arrest for "ordering and leading the coup attempt" in which over 270 people were killed.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied any involvement.

Ankara has sacked or suspended more than 100,000 soldiers, police, and civil servants since the failed coup for alleged links to Gulen's movement.

The Turkish government has branded Gulen's Hizmet movement a terror organization and wants him returned to Turkey to face trial. But Washington has said previously it would need firm evidence of the cleric's involvement.

During a meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in August, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "As per the extradition agreement between the U.S. and Turkey, these types of people should at least be detained, arrested, and kept under surveillance. Yet that individual is still directing his terrorist organization from his whereabouts."

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP