The attempted coup in Turkey on July 15th, 2016, which eventually failed, is changing the relationship between the United States and its NATO ally Turkey.
Before the coup, the United States was using Turkey as a base for its fight against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. NATO, too has a base in Turkey, and it is believed the organization has been storing some of its nuclear weapons there.
However, this strategic alliance between United States, NATO and Turkey now looks very fragile. The friendly relationship is deteriorating. Turkey has already said Fethullah Gulen, a powerful cleric who lives in the United States, is behind the failed coup, demanding that United States extradite him to Turkey to face trial. The United States on the other hand has said Turkey will have to provide a solid evidence of Mr Gulen’s involvement in the coup before the extradition could proceed.
As the extradition issue is still unresolved, a Turkish prosecutor has claimed that two United States government agencies, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provided training for the soldiers and all those who took part in the failed coup against the government. The prosecutor revealed that these two United States government agencies have supported Mr Gulen, to oust the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for some time now.
The prosecutor made this damning revelation in an indictment prepared by the Edirne Public Prosecutor’s office; against 43 individuals suspected to have played lead roles in the coup. The indictment has since been accepted by the local Second Heavy Penal Court. It is said if the death sentence is reinstated in Turkey, these 43 will be executed. Many Turkish citizens have called for the death sentence to be brought back, and Mr Erdogan has said the people’s wish will be granted.
The prosecutor revealed that members of what it described as the “the Fethullah Terrorist Organization” were trained by CIA and the FBI. It is said the training to oust the Turkish government was started by the two agencies in December 2013.
In the indictment document prepared, the prosecutor quoted: “The CIA and FBI provided training in several subjects to the cadre raised in the culture centers belonging to the Gulen movement. The operations carried out by prosecutors and security officials during the December 17  process can be taken as a good example of this.”
It is said that during the December 17 period, the Turkish judiciary – which had been infiltrated by Mr Gulen, the CIA and the FBI – launched a corruption investigations targeting senior government officials, including even President Erdogan.
The Turkish Daily Hurriyet newspaper reports that those investigations were aimed at impeaching Mr Erdogan and his cabinet, so that members of the Gulen Movement could take the advantage of seizing the country. When this ‘civil coup’ failed, the plotters quickly switched to another method by using the gun to try and seize power, according to the prosecutor.
On July 25th, the Turkish conservative newspaper, Yeni Safak published more details of the prosecutor’s claim of United States involvement in the coup. The newspaper said the retired United States Army General John F. Campbell, who served as a commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, also played a lead role in the coup. Campbell reportedly sent more than $ 2 billion in transactions to Turkey via Nigeria, in order to distribute it among the pro-coup military. He is also said to have provided secret training to the soldiers, especially those who were assigned to seize the country’s military headquarters.
On July 28th, many people reportedly assembled at NATO’s air base in Incirlik, protesting that the base be closed down. Prosecutors confirmed that search has been carried out at the facility, and that the commander at the facility, General Bekir Ercan Van has been arrested along with some junior officers for their role in the coup.
Following the prosecutor’s disclosure, President Erdogan has criticized the United States for providing a safe haven for Gulen, saying that a country that harbors “the coup planner” is “no friend” to Turkey.
Mr Erdogan also used the opportunity to lash out at the head of the United States Central Command, General Joseph Votel. Mr Votel has openly criticized Turkey for unlawfully detaining those suspected of participating in the coup. Erdogan said many of the soldiers the United States trained, which General Votel is aware of, are now in jail.
“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. The coup plotter is in your country anyway. You the United States can never convince my people otherwise,” Erdogan said.
The Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu also added that Turkish-U.S. ties could suffer unless Washington extradites Gulen to Turkey for trial.
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