Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Televisa and reiterated his government's demand for the extradition of US-based preacher Fetullah Gulen who Ankara alleges is the mastermind behind a deadly coup attempt last month.
Turkey has sent the U.S. a second request for the arrest of the Pennsylvania-based preacher, the Turkish Justice Minister announced Tuesday.
“You have to be prepared for any kind of scenario." Erdogan told Mexican television referring to the coup. He said the ruling government has been in power for 14 years and he was elected president with 52 percent support of the country.
More than 66,000 workers at state institutions have been dismissed from their posts amid a nationwide probe following the overthrow attempt.
Most of the dismissed belong to the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO), headed by Gulen, that has infiltrated state institutions for four decades. The number, however, is not a true representation of the group’s shadowy presence inside the Turkish state, he said.
“This incident was not a result of the people being fired,” he said. “However, it was -- the FETO -- the combination of about 40 years. This organization had been in this process in of organizing itself into state mechanisms for about 40 years. They infiltrated Turkish armed forces, Turkish national police and all of the government and state institutions including the judiciary. So they actually infiltrated nerve endings of our state,” he said, adding that all data and indicators point to FETO as being behind the crisis.
Gulen is accused of implementing the campaign to overthrow the state by forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.
“You need to be blind and be deaf not to understand that he is behind all of this. The most important point to take into consideration is that these people are excellent liars. They are very successful in lying and our national security strategy document now officially refers to this terrorist organization as a terrorist organization,” according to Erdogan.
With the strong evidence against Gulen and FETO, time is of the essence when it comes to his extradition, the president said.
“We have no time to wait six months or one year which is simply intolerable.”
Turkey’s Prime Minister has said ties between Ankara and Washington would be affected if the U.S. did not hand over Gulen who has resided in the state of Pennsylvania since 1999.
The coup attempt martyred at least 238 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, according to official statistics.