Turkey revokes passport of bitter Erdogan rival Gulen

By REUTERS
February 3, 2015 17:06

 
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ANKARA - The Turkish government has cancelled the passport of ally-turned-foe Fethullah Gulen, local media reported on Tuesday, the latest salvo in a bitter feud between the US-based Muslim cleric and President Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan and his ruling AK Party accuse Gulen and his supporters of seeking to establish a "parallel state" in Turkey and of orchestrating a corruption investigation in 2013 which briefly threatened to engulf the government.

Gulen, who denies the accusations, stepped up his own criticism of Erdogan, saying he was leading Turkey "toward totalitarianism."

CNN Turk said on its website that Turkey had informed US officials on January 28 that it was revoking Gulen's passport because it was issued based on a "false statement". Gulen has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.

A Turkish foreign ministry official said he could not confirm the media reports.

The move could bring Ankara a step closer to issuing a formal extradition request for Gulen. Washington is expected to reject such a demand, further fraying bilateral ties already strained over regional policy and US concerns over what some see as Erdogan's increasing authoritarianism.

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