Ankara denied claims that it had offered $15 million to former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn to seize US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and deliver him to the Turkish government.
Gulen is accused by Ankara of orchestrating last year’s failed military coup.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told CNN in an interview on Sunday that he raised the Gulen issue with US Vice President Mike Pence during talks in Washington last week, but said that the extradition request was being handled by the two countries' justice ministries.
"We are not dealing with Michael Flynn," Yildirim said. "We are dealing with the government of the United States."
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal wrote that a meeting was held last December between Flynn, his son and Turkish officials to discuss the capture of Gulen and his transfer outside the US in return for receiving up to $15 million.
The newspaper said US Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating the alleged proposal under which Flynn and his son would receive the sum.
WSJ added that another meeting was held on Sept. 19, 2016 in the presence of former CIA Director James Woolsey to discuss several issues, including the seizure of Gulen.
Last month, Reuters reported that Woolsey pitched a $10 million contract to two Turkish businessmen to help discredit Gulen while Woolsey was an adviser to Donald Trump’s election campaign. The news agency said Woolsey met on Sept. 20, 2016 with businessmen Ekim Alptekin and Sezgin Baran Korkmaz over lunch at the Peninsula Hotel in New York.
Also on Sunday, the Turkish embassy in Washington denied in a statement WSJ’s claims and said Turkey would not operate outside the law for the extradition of the cleric.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Turkey-US Business Council Ekim Alptekin said the only purpose of leveling these fabricated allegations was to damage Turkey’s reputation.