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 / Updated  / Source: Reuters

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday the United States as a strategic partner should facilitate the extradition of the U.S.-based cleric whom Ankara blames for orchestrating last month's failed military coup.

Erdogan said he had personally asked President Barack Obama to extradite Fethullah Gulen back to Turkey.

Image: Fethullah Gulen
U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen lives in Saylorsburg, Penn.Greg Savoy / REUTERS TV / Reuters, file

Washington has reacted cautiously and said it needs to see clear evidence to prove Gulen's involvement in the July 15 failed putsch.

"I personally asked Obama to extradite Gulen a year ago. I have asked him again after the latest events," Erdogan said in Ankara. "Things are moving in a different direction in our country, and a strategic partner should not make its partner's work harder."

A court in Turkey issued a formal arrest warrant for Gulen earlier this month.

Turkey has designated Gulen's movement, which runs charities, schools and businesses across the world, as a terrorist organization and has launched a widespread crackdown on suspected members since the failed coup.