Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect
ISTANBUL - Turkey is to ask German authorities to extradite a top suspect in last year's failed coup who still remains at large, state media said on Tuesday.
A request for Adil Oksuz to be extradited from Germany has been prepared following a demand from an Ankara criminal court, the Anadolu news agency said.
Berlin has never confirmed if Oksuz is in the country, but Turkey in August asked the German government to formally investigate reported sightings of him.
Ankara blames the doomed July 15, 2016, coup attempt to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, and has implemented a ruthless crackdown on his suspected supporters.
Turkey has pressed Washington -- so far without success -- to extradite Gulen, who denies the allegations, from his Pennsylvania compound to face trial in Turkey.
But the second most wanted suspect is Oksuz, a theology lecturer whom Turkish officials accuse of being the so-called "imam" of the plot by coordinating actions on the ground in Turkey with Gulen.
Oksuz was detained in Turkey after the coup was quashed, but was subsequently released -- allegedly because the judge was pro-Gulen -- and is now on the run.
The extradition request relates to the mass trial of 486 people, including Oksuz, over events at the Akinci air base outside Ankara, seen as the hub of the failed putsch, on the night of the coup plot.
If the presence of Oksuz in Germany is confirmed, it would add yet another bone of contention in increasingly troubled relations between Ankara and Berlin.
Ties between the two countries -- key NATO allies with strong historic ties -- have nosedived over Ankara's arrest of German citizens and Berlin's strong criticism of the Turkish post-coup crackdown.