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Turkey coup: US military chief censures plotters

Turkish President supporters clash with military

The top US military figure has strongly condemned last month’s failed coup in Turkey, as Washington seeks to ease strained ties.

The chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Joseph Dunford, met PM Binali Yildirim in Ankara.

Turkey has been angered by what it sees as a readiness by allies to criticise Turkey’s reaction to the failed coup, rather than the coup-plotters.

But Mr Yildirim also conceded mistakes had been made in the coup aftermath.

His office released a statement saying Gen Dunford had condemned the coup attempt and was visiting Ankara to support Turkish democracy and its people.

“It is important that the United States, our friend and ally, display a clear and decisive stance against this terrorist coup attempt against our nation and democracy,” Mr Yildirim said.

Ahead of the meetings, US joint staff spokesman Capt Greg Hicks had confirmed Gen Dunford would “deliver messages condemning in the strongest terms the recent coup attempt”.

Some protesters in Ankara were unconvinced, with banners reading: “Coup plotter Dunford get out of Turkey” and “Dunford go home. Send us Fethullah.”

Turkey has urged the US to extradite the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who it accuses of being behind the coup attempt, something he denies. Mr Yildirim repeated the request to Gen Dunford.

Turkey’s government has cracked down on those it considers linked to the coup-plotters.

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested, or dismissed or suspended from roles in the military, judiciary, civil service and education.

However, Mr Yildirim, in comments carried by the Anadolu news agency, said the crackdown may have gone too far in some cases.

“There must definitely be some among them who were subjected to unfair procedures,” he said.

Gen Dunford also visited the Incirlik military base, which is used by US and other planes for attacks on so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Turkey, a key member of the Nato military alliance, is seen as vital in the fight against IS jihadists.

At least 246 people were killed in clashes during the attempt to depose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 15 July.

Earlier on Monday, the authorities said they had captured all but one of the soldiers accused of trying to seize the president as he was on holiday in Marmaris.

Special forces arrested another 11 soldiers on Sunday night in a forested area after a two-week manhunt near the resort in the south-west.

Turkey also summoned Germany’s charge d’affaires to the foreign ministry in Ankara to explain why Mr Erdogan was prevented from addressing a rally in Cologne via a video-link on Sunday.

At least 30,000 rallied in the German city in support of the Turkish president.

Cologne police had initially banned the organizers from erecting a large video screen at the demonstration.

A court then ruled that a screen could be used, but only to relay speeches of those present at the rally.

There are about three million ethnic Turks living in Germany, Turkey’s largest diaspora community.




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Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

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