(FILES) This handout file picture released on September 24, 2013 by Zaman Daily shows exiled Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.  
The US-based cleric was accused by Ankara of orchestrating Friday's military coup attempt but he firmly denied involvement, also condemning the action "in the strongest terms". / AFP PHOTO / ZAMAN DAILY / SELAHATTIN SEVI / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/ZAMAN DAILY/SELAHATTIN SEVI" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE

SELAHATTIN SEVI/AFP/Getty Images
SELAHATTIN SEVI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This handout file picture released on September 24, 2013 by Zaman Daily shows exiled Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. The US-based cleric was accused by Ankara of orchestrating Friday's military coup attempt but he firmly denied involvement, also condemning the action "in the strongest terms". / AFP PHOTO / ZAMAN DAILY / SELAHATTIN SEVI / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/ZAMAN DAILY/SELAHATTIN SEVI" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE SELAHATTIN SEVI/AFP/Getty Images
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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JULY 16: Soldiers involved in the coup attempt surrender on Bosphorus bridge with their hands raised on July 16, 2016  in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul's bridges across the Bosphorus, the strait separating the European and Asian sides of the city, have been closed to traffic. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced an army coup attempt, that has left atleast 90 dead 1154 injured in overnight clashes in Istanbul and Ankara. (Photo by Gokhan Tan/Getty Images)
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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JULY 15: Turkish soldiers block Istanbul's Bosphorus Brigde on July 15, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul's bridges across the Bosphorus, the strait separating the European and Asian sides of the city, have been closed to traffic. Reports have suggested that a group within Turkey's military have attempted to overthrow the government. Security forces have been called in as Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim denounced an "illegal action" by a military "group", with bridges closed in Istanbul and aircraft flying low over the capital of Ankara. (Photo by Gokhan Tan/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Danny Cevallos: Turkish President wants political rival living in Pennsylvania extradited over coup attempt. Can he do that?

Every extradition request becomes a case-by-case analysis, guided by moment's prevailing international political winds, he says

Editor’s Note: Danny Cevallos (@CevallosLaw) is a CNN legal analyst and a personal injury and criminal defense attorney admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN) —  

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed last weekend’s failed military coup on Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive 75-year old Turkish imam living in self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

Erdogan has demanded the United States arrest Gulen or return him to Turkey – that is, extradite him. The Turkish government will submit a formal written request for the cleric’s extradition within days, Erdogan told CNN’s Becky Anderson.

Extradition is the process by which a person charged with or convicted of a crime under the law of one country is found in another country and returned for trial and punishment.

Generally, in the United States, extradition may be granted only pursuant to a treaty. The decision on whether to extradite traditionally involves a three-part analysis: First, the offense must be an “extraditable act.” Second, there must be “double criminality.” Third, the requesting state must comply with a principle called “specialty.”

’Extraditable’ acts

The United States alone has entered into more than 100 treaties with different countries, each with their own language. Each is also externally influenced by the state of relations with that country, too.

Within all the uncertainty, there are two ways nations decide whether an act is “extraditable.” A treaty – such as that between the United States and Turkey – might specifically identify extraditable acts, such as murder or manslaughter, in a checklist. Alternatively, it might list extraditable offenses very generally by reference to the severity of punishment.