The White House's sick bid to bribe Turkey’s tyrant

The Trump administration is looking for ways to remove exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen from the United States in order to appease Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, MSNBC reported on Thursday.

"We definitely see no connection between the two", the official told NBC.

The Trump administration has sought ways to legally turn Gulen over to Erdogan, including extradition, in an effort to help "ease pressure on the Saudi government", four sources reportedly told NBC News.

Gulen's media adviser, Alp Aslandogan, said he had not been informed of any new USA inquiry.

Erdogan has been pleading with the United States to extradite Gulen ever since a failed coup attempt in 2016. USA officials have said the courts need sufficient evidence to extradite the elderly cleric.

But spokeswoman Heather Nauert rejected the allegation in an NBC report that the White House is seeking a way to extradite Gulen - who reportedly has a US Green Card - in a bid to reduce Turkish pressure on Saudi Arabia over the murder of a dissident journalist.

Extraditing him would be part of a deal to win Turkey's acquiescence to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman staying in power, it said. Mr...

It would be a death sentence: The Turkish president has been requesting Gulen's return for years.

Last month, the Donald Trump administration instructed the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reopen Gulen's extradition case, and also asked for information on his legal status from the Department of Homeland Security, four sources, including two senior US officials, told NBC.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said US authorities continued to evaluate material Turkey has provided on Gulen but that it remained a Justice Department matter and the White House had not been involved in any extradition discussions.

NBC said career officials at the agencies had pushed back at the White House requests.

"The requests on Gulen in mid-October mark at least the second time the Trump administration has reexamined Turkey's extradition request since taking office", NBC wrote.

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