Turkey’s state-run news agency says a prosecutor is demanding that an arrest warrant be issued for the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen — a former ally-turned-foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Anadolu Agency says Friday that a court in Istanbul will decide whether a warrant should be issued. The move would be a prelude to a formal request for Gulen’s extradition from the United States, where he is living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.
The government has accused Gulen’s network of infiltrating the police and judiciary and ordering corruption investigations last year that forced four Cabinet ministers to resign. Gulen denies the accusations.
Earlier, the agency said the court had ordered the arrest of four people detained in recent raids on a newspaper and television station affiliated with Gulen’s movement.
But the court ordered the release of Ekrem Dumanli, the editor-in-chief of one of the country’s biggest newspapers, Zaman. The court banned Dumanli from traveling, pending possible charges.
The investigation has been widely condemned as a blow against the free press, drawing criticism from the EU and the U.S. Erdogan has lashed out at the foreign criticism, saying that the investigation is a national security issue of domestic concern.
The four men in custody are Samanyolu Media Group head Hidayet Karaca; Tufan Erguder, the former head of the anti-terror division of the Istanbul police; and two other police officials. Karaca was charged with leading a terrorist organization; the three others are accused of being members.