Jonah Bennett, DCNF
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke Saturday evening with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and suggested any public reports of U.S. involvement in the failed coup attempt of the Turkish government are “utterly false.”
Not only are they false, Kerry said, but they also harm relations between the U.S. and Turkey.
After receiving an update from Cavusoglu on the rapidly developing coup situation in Turkey, Kerry reiterated that the U.S. supports the “democratically elected government in Turkey.” Kerry also urged Turkish authorities to respect due process and adhere to international obligations in its treatment of those involved in the coup and to make sure civilian life and property are protected. If Turkey needs additional assistance, Kerry added, the U.S. is prepared to help.
But despite Kerry’s pleas for civility, reports have emerged that coup supporters have met harsh ends. So far, 2,839 military officers have been detained. At least 161 civilians were killed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan escalated rhetoric Saturday by declaring in a speech directed at President Barack Obama, “Either arrest Fethullah Gulen or return him to Turkey. You didn’t listen. I call on you again, after there was a coup attempt, extradite this man in Pennsylvania to Turkey. If we are strategic partners or model partners, do what is necessary.”
Gulen is an Islamic cleric who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999. He has a powerful following in Turkey, but Erdogan has tried to purge Gulenists from positions of influence in the government and general public sphere. No public evidence exists yet to link the Gulenists to the attempted coup in Turkey, but Robert Amsterdam from Amsterdam & Partners, who speaks on behalf of the Turkish government, said Turkish intelligence services have discovered “signs that Gulen is working closely with certain members of military leadership against the elected civilian government.”
Gulen had himself condemned the coup attempt on Friday, saying “There is a slight chance, there is a possibility that it could be a staged coup.”
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