Turkey’s interior minister accused the United States on Thursday of being behind a 2016 failed coup that Ankara has blamed on a U.S.-based Muslim preacher, the Hurriyet daily reported, at a time when Turkey is seeking improved ties with its NATO ally.
More than 250 people were killed in the attempt to overthrow President Tayyip Erdogan and his government on July 15, 2016 when rogue soldiers commandeered warplanes, helicopters and tanks to seize state institutions.
Ankara has long blamed preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan who lives in Pennsylvania, and launched a widespread crackdown on his network, which Ankara refers to by the acronym ‘FETO’. Gulen denies any involvement.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told Hurriyet the United States had managed the coup attempt while Gulen’s network carried it out, adding “Europe was enthusiastic about it”, reaffirming a view he said he had been expressing since the putsch.
“It is blatantly clear the United States is behind July 15. It was FETO who carried it out upon their orders”, he said.
U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment, but Washington has previously denied any involvement. It has repeatedly rejected Turkish demands for Gulen’s extradition, citing a lack of credible evidence from Ankara.
Read more: Reuters