“We can confirm now that Turkey has requested the extradition of Mr. Gulen,” agency spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at a press briefing.
Gulen is accused of masterminding the defeated coup on July 15, through rogue elements of his Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) within the Turkish military. The failed putsch left 240 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Toner said however that he “wouldn’t characterize it as relating to the coup attempt.
“We have received a formal extradition request, just not one pertaining to the coup attempt,” the spokesman said, declining to specify further.
Ankara submitted a request for extradition on July 19, only days after the coup attempt. Toner said Tuesday the decision to accept the request formally was made “in the past several days”.
Toner’s remarks come on the eve of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Turkey slated for Wednesday.
He is scheduled to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and parliament speaker Ismail Kahraman.
Biden will also tour the Turkish Parliament, which was bombed on the night of the failed coup.