Turkey has issued an arrest warrant for author and former CIA officer Graham E. Fuller.
Istanbul’s chief prosecutor accused Fuller, who also served as vice-chair of the US National Intelligence Council, of having links to the Pennsylvania-based self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara holds responsible for last year’s failed coup attempt. Turkey has also accused Gulen and his followers of infiltrating the US justice system in order to bring about the ongoing trial of a Halkbank banker accused of using money laundering to breach sanctions against Iran, a trial in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been implicated as linked to a money laundering plot.
The arrest warrant alleges that Fuller was in Turkey during the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and left the country after the coup attempt failed, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
According to the report, prosecutors accuse Fuller of “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey and obstructing the duties of the Republic of Turkey,” “obtaining state information that must be kept secret for political and military espionage purposes,” and “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.”
Hurriyet said that prosecutors also believed Fuller was in contact with American academic Henri Barkey, who was also previously subject of an arrest warrant in Turkey, as well as other figures who played alleged roles in the coup attempt.
According to the newspaper, Barkey is accused of organizing and coordinating the coup attempt in a meeting on Istanbul’s Buyukada island between July 15 and July 16, 2016.
Prosecutors claim that Fuller also participated in this meeting.
In October, Washington suspended non-immigration visa services for Turks after Turkey arrested a US embassy staff member over his alleged links to Gulen.
In retaliation, Turkey froze non-immigrant visa applications for Americans.
Ankara has been demanding the extradition of Gulen, but the US has shown no sign of complying with Turkey’s request. Gulen has strenuously denied having played any role in the attempted coup.
On a related note, Gilles de Kerchove, the EU's counter-terrorism coordinator, last week told Reuters that the EU did not share Turkey's view that the Gulen group was a terrorist organisation and would need to see "substantive" evidence to change its stance.
The Ankara government says what it calls the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) infiltrated the country’s military, judiciary, police force and other key institutions prior to the coup.
Turkey accuses its Western allies of failing to support the Turkish government in the wake of the coup attempt. Ankara also says that Germany is harbouring members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and suspected coup plotters.
"The decision on extradition is in the hands of all member states, and most of the time the judiciary, the independent judiciary, and they need hard evidence," de Kerchove said.
Turkey has been under a state of emergency since July 2016 following the failed coup attempt.
In the wake of the botched putsch, more than 50,000 people have been arrested in wide-ranging purges over their alleged links to the coup plotters, while around 150,000 people, including military personnel, judges, academics, journalists, police officers, teachers and civil servants at various ministries have been dismissed from their jobs.