Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the United States for its reaction to a failed military coup in Turkey, accusing it of harboring the man behind the plot.
Ankara has demanded the United States extradite Fethullah Gulen, a cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. The government has accused Gulen of having masterminded the failed July 15 coup, which left 290 people dead.
Gulen has denied any prior knowledge of the attempted putsch, while Washington has asked for evidence of his involvement.
The president lashed out at an American military official who he said commented on the detention of thousands of military personnel in the wake of the coup.
“It’s not up to you to make that decision. Who are you? Know your place…” Erdogan said.
“Instead of thanking this nation that quashed the coup in the name of democracy, on the contrary you are taking sides with the coup-plotters,” Erdogan said.
“Besides, the coup plotter is in your country anyway. You can never convince my people otherwise.”
US allies jailed in Turkey coup roundup
Central Command chief says post-coup purge might effect Turkey-US military cooperation
The head of U.S. Central Command said Thursday that some officers with whom the U.S. had relationships are imprisoned for their role in a recent coup attempt in Turkey.
“We have certainly had relationships with a lot of Turkish leaders — military leaders in particular. I am concerned about what the impact is on those relationships as we continue,” Gen. Joseph Votel said while speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, a think tank, in Colorado.
Responding to a question about whether some of those leaders are now in jail he said “yes, I think some of them are in jail.”
The general leading the Pentagon’s operations in the Middle East said Turkey is beyond being just a place where the U.S. “park our assets and launch them.
“They have been integrated into many things that we are doing,” he said, noting Turkey’s contribution to the anti-Daesh fight and significant intelligence sharing between the two countries with respect to the terrorism.