Turkey’s Erdogan: The West is taking sides with coup

Turkish president accuses Western countries of failing to support Ankara in the wake of July 15 failed coup attempt.

Erdogan says Fethullah Gulen was behind the coup [Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press Service via AP]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticised unnamed Western countries for what he said was support for the July 15 attempted coup, which left more than 270 people dead and nearly 70,000 others suspended from their jobs.

“The West is supporting terrorism and taking sides with coups,” Erdogan said, speaking at an event for foreign investors in the capital, Ankara, on Tuesday.

READ MORE – Erdogan to West: ‘Mind your own business’

He repeated a complaint that no foreign leader had visited Turkey after the failed coup, while France and Belgium received visits in solidarity after attacks there.

“Those we considered friends are siding with coup plotters and terrorists,” he said.

During his speech, Erdogan also singled out Germany for criticism, after a German court 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.

Turkey had sent Germany more than 4,000 files on wanted “terrorists”, but Germany did nothing, Erdogan added.

‘Coup instigator’

The Turkish government says the coup was instigated by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who has been living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.

Turkey has demanded his extradition, but Washington has asked for evidence of the cleric’s involvement, saying the extradition process must take its course.

Erdogan complained about the request for evidence, saying: “We did not request documents for terrorists that you wanted returned.”

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

The minister said the second letter explained why there was an urgent need for the arrest.

TIMELINE: Here’s how the coup attempt unfolded

The government has launched a sweeping crackdown on Gulen’s movement, which it characterises as a “terrorist” organisation and which runs schools, charities and businesses internationally.

“They requested certain information following our first letter; we provided answers to the question ‘why is it urgent’,” Anadolu quoted Bozdag as telling reporters in parliament, adding that Turkey had intelligence indicating Gulen might leave for a third country.

“I hope that the United States decides in Turkey’s favour, in line with democracy and the rule of law, and returns this leader of a terror organisation to Turkey,” he said.

The minister said that if Gulen left the US, it would be with the full knowledge of US authorities.

Source: AP