President Erdogan says 'the West' supported Turkey coup attempt

President Erdogan says 'the West' supported Turkey coup attempt
Turkey's president has accused unnamed Western countries of backing coup plotters who attempted to overthrow the government last month.
4 min read
03 August, 2016
President Erdogan has purged opponents from government and military positions [AFP]
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed "the West" for backing last month's coup attempt to overthrow the Turkish government.

Turkey's leader insists that US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the coup, while others have suggested Washington had a role in the plot to overthrow Erdogan.

The purge and arrest of thousands of coup suspects has led to Erdogan face strong criticism from some Western countries, following earlier condemnations over moves to silence the press.

Tough line

Now Erdogan appears to be taking a stronger line against his Western critics, saying they are angry that Turkey has become a leading regional power under his leadership.

"The West is supporting terrorism and taking sides with coups," Erdogan said.

"They have actors inside (Turkey) but the scenario of this coup was written abroad."

Turkey has demanded the extradition of Gulen, but Washington wants hard evidence of the cleric's involvement in the plot first.

This has led to Erdogan hitting back at the US request for more information.

"We did not request documents for terrorists that you wanted returned," he said.

Speaking late on Tuesday night during a live television interview on CNN Turk, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said there would be a high-level visit to Turkey from the US this month, without saying who would be visiting.

The government has launched a sweeping crackdown on Gulen's movement, which it characterises as a "terrorist organisation".

Nearly 70,000 people have been suspended from their jobs on suspicion of being involved in the movement, which runs schools, charities and businesses internationally.


Erdogan has singled out Germany for criticism, after a court there ruled against allowing him to appear on a video link to address a crowd of about 30,000 supporters and anti-coup demonstrators in Cologne over the weekend.

Those we considered friends are siding with coup-plotters and terrorists.

- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The president said Turkey had sent Germany more than 4,000 files on what he said were wanted terrorists, but Germany did nothing. 

In his television interview, Yildirim also expressed the government's displeasure at Germany's stance.

"They make grand statements on democracy, human rights but then three different courts there come up with a decision," Yildirim said.

"Is our president's address something that would perturb Germany's domestic affairs? It was a great disappointment to us."

Erdogan has complained that no foreign leader had visited Turkey after the failed coup, while France and Belgium received visits in solidarity after terror attacks there.

"Those we considered friends are siding with coup-plotters and terrorists," the president said.


Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag sent a second document to the US on Tuesday seeking Gulen's arrest, state-run  Anadolu news agency reported.

"They requested certain information following our first letter; we provided answers to the question 'why is it urgent?'"

He added that Turkey had intelligence indicating Gulen might leave for a third country. If he does, Bozdag said, it would only be with the full knowledge of US authorities.

Yildirim also explained the reasons for Turkey's request for Gulen's arrest.

"We have such a request so that he does not escape, nothing happens to him or that he does not tamper with the evidence," he said in his interview. "This is a legal and reasonable request. I hope U.S. officials consider this request with sensitivity."

Several countries have expressed concern over the scope of the crackdown on suspected coup plotters, and have urged restraint.

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But Erdogan insisted the purges of the civil service, military and other sectors were necessary to rout out those responsible for the coup

"If we show pity to these murderers, to these coup plotters, we will end up in a pitiful state," he said.

On Tuesday, the Turkish Football federation said it had sacked 94 people, including a number of referees. It said the action was taken as a "necessity," without saying whether those dismissed were suspected of links to the Gulen movement.

Authorities also issued 98 new detention warrants, including for military doctors, a senior government official said, on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

A lawyer also filed a criminal complaint against General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff; US National Intelligence Director James Clapper and General Joseph Votel, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, accusing them of backing Gulen.

The complaint, which has to be accepted by prosecutors before any action is taken, came days after Erdogan told Votel to "know your place" after he expressed concern that the post-coup crackdown may affect the fight against Islamic State group militants.