Turkey criticises Brazil for refusing extradition of businessman over Gülen links

Turkey said on Friday that the fight against the Gülen movement, a religious group Turkey accuses of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016, should be a priority for Brazil, whose Supreme Court on Tuesday declined Turkey’s extradition request for a Gülen-linked businessman.

Following the failed putsch in 2016, the Turkish government designated the religious movement as a terrorist group, calling it the Fethulahist Terrorist Organisation, or FETÖ, and launched a purge against its members living in the country and abroad. 

In Brazil, Ankara filed an extradition request for Ali Sipahi, a businessman and owner of restaurants in Sao Paulo.

Brazil’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Turkey’s extradition request saying there was no guarantee that Sipahi would get a fair trial in Turkey, South Atlantic News Agency MercoPress reported

“There is no assurance that the extradited person would be ensured an impartial trial by an independent judge,” the court said in its unanimous ruling.

Brazil’s chief prosecutor’s office argued before the court against the extradition of Sipahi, who has lived in Brazil for 12 years, saying there was no evidence linking the businessman to terrorist acts. 

"FETÖ Terrorist Organisation is a threat not only for Turkey but also for all humanity,” Hami Aksoy, the spokesman of Turkish Foreign Ministry, said in response to a question regarding Sipahi’s extradition. 

"In that regard, the fight against FETÖ should be as important and prioritised for Brazil as it is for our country. Turkey’s efforts towards maintaining and increasing its cooperation with the Brazilian Government in the fight against terrorism, particularly with FETÖ will continue. We expect the Brazilian Government to show the same sensitivity on this matter,” Aksoy said.