ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suggested that Turkey will not deport a U.S. pastor imprisoned in Turkey while Washington refuses to extradite the Turkish cleric that Ankara believes masterminded last year’s coup attempt.
Erdogan said Thursday that Washington was pressing Turkey to return one “cleric” while refusing to hand over another “cleric.” He was referring to the U.S. pastor, Andrew Brunson, who is detained in Turkey, and the Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.
Brunson was detained in Turkey last October on terror charges. In May, the White House said U.S. President Trump asked the Turkish government to expeditiously return him to the United Sates.
Turkey accuses Gulen of orchestrating the July 2016 attempted coup and has outlawed his movement. Gulen denies involvement.