Turkey is upping pressure on the United States to hand over a Muslim cleric who Ankara blames for a failed coup on July 15.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said anti-American sentiment in Turkey is reaching its “peak” over the issue of cleric Fethullah Gulen’s return and risks turning into hatred.
Bozdag also told the state-run Anadolu Agency on August 9 that Washington would be “sacrificing” its alliance with Ankara if it were to refuse to extradite Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.
Turkey has branded Gulen’s movement a terror organization and wants him returned to Turkey to face trial.
Washington has said it would need evidence of the cleric’s involvement.
Gulen has denied involvement in the violent coup attempt that left more than 270 people dead.
In his weekly address to legislators of his ruling party, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on August 9 vowed to bring Gulen to justice.
Based on reporting by Reuters
Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.