Turkey claims Trump said he's working on extraditing Erdogan enemy

Embroidered images of Turkish cleric Fetullah Gulen (L) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R)
Embroidered images of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen (L) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R). Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images

Turkey's foreign minister claimed Sunday that President Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the G20 summit in Argentina that he was working on extraditing Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, a longtime enemy of Erdogan currently living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: Gulen has been accused of orchestrating a failed coup against Erdogan in 2016, which the strongman president used as a pretense to arrest thousands of dissidents and assume sweeping new executive powers. NBC News reported last month that the White House was exploring options for extraditing Gulen, who has denied any involvement in the coup, in order to compel Erdogan to ease pressure on Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Go deeper: Mueller probing Michael Flynn plot to kidnap Gulen

Behind the scenes of Trump's trade wars

Photo: Xinhua/Li Xueren via Getty Images

Last Saturday night, after his dinner with China's President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires, President Trump rode to the airport in his armored limousine. The first lady, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders joined the president in "The Beast."

What happened: Inside the car, Trump dictated a statement to Sanders listing the concessions he said China made during the dinner, according to two sources familiar with their private conversation. The statement, which was circulated to principals, was all Trump. Since then, we've seen a mess of competing and confusing statements from the Chinese and American sides, throwing U.S. stock markets into a spiral.

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