- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he’s restructuring Turkey’s intelligence apparatus, claiming the spy services were under the control of a U.S.-based Muslim cleric he blames for staging last month’s coup attempt against him.

The assertions came as Turkey’s justice minister sent a second document to Washington on Tuesday demanding the arrest of cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who has been living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since the late-1990s.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported that Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag sent the document explaining why there was an urgent need for Mr. Gulen’s arrest, according to The Associated Press.

“They requested certain information following our first letter; we provided answers to the question ‘why is it urgent,’” Anadolu quoted Bozdag as telling reporters in parliament, adding that Turkey had intelligence indicating Gulen might leave for a third country.

“I hope that the United States decides in Turkey’s favor, in line with democracy and the rule of law, and returns this leader of a terror organization to Turkey,” he said.

The Erdogan government has launched a sweeping crackdown on Mr. Gulen’s followers inside Turkey during the weeks since the coup attempt. Some 70,000 people have been suspended from their jobs on suspicion of being involved in the Gulenist movement, which Ankara characterizes as a terrorist organization that runs schools, charities and businesses internationally.

Mr. Erdogan’s comments on Turkey’s intelligence service, meanwhile, came during a televised address in the nation on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

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