NBC is reporting that Washington is looking at ways to extradite Fetullah Gulen, head of Fetullah Terrorist Organisation, so that Turkey "eases" pressure on Riyadh over the Khashoggi killing. Turkey says the Gulen and Khashoggi cases are not linked.

Turkey has repeatedly called for Fetullah Gulen's extradition in the aftermath of the unsuccessful July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Turkey has repeatedly called for Fetullah Gulen's extradition in the aftermath of the unsuccessful July 15, 2016 coup attempt. (AA)

The US is examining legal means to extradite Fetullah Gulen, leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO), in order to placate Turkey over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, NBC reported on Thursday.

However, a senior Turkish official told TRT World the cases of Gulen and Khashoggi are "totally separate."

Quoting sources, the US TV network reported on its website that the Trump administration asked the federal law enforcement agencies in October to "examine legal ways" of removing Gulen from US soil so that Turkey "eases pressure" on Riyadh following Khashoggi's killing.   

Also on Thursday, Saudi Arabia called for the death penalty for five people accused of murdering journalist Khashoggi inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate, but absolved the crown prince of any blame. 

Ankara had insisted the hit on the Riyadh-critic came from the "highest levels" of the Saudi government. 

Extradition to South Africa?

The NBC report also said Gulen may be extradited to South Africa.

A Turkish foreign ministry official said the two cases "are not connected in any way, shape or form."

"We expect the US to extradite Gulen without conditions. We won't accept his extradition to South Africa, he must be handed to Turkey," the official told TRT World.  "And we're going to continue our investigation on behalf of the Khashoggi case."

Turkey has been unsuccessfully seeking the extradition of Gulen for trying to overthrow the government and presidency in a military coup on July 2016.

Gulen has denied any role in the defeated coup, in which 250 people were killed, and another 2,000 wounded.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies