US Cites Fluid Situation For Late Support For Turkey
You know, we’re trying to evaluate frankly what is happening on the ground,’ State Dept. says.
“I don’t think it’s unusual that we also were trying to figure out what exactly was taking place.”
Critics have slammed the U.S. for not showing early support for Turkey during the overthrow attempt late Friday, instead waiting for up to five hours after the situation had developed before it voiced backing for the government in Ankara.
“That there was somehow any delay because we were trying to game out this or that somehow we were involved, I would just reject that wholeheartedly,” Toner said.
The U.S. first learned about the putsch attempt only after reports surfaced on social media at approximately 4 p.m. (2000GMT) Friday in Washington DC, according to Toner.
Responding to reports that suggest Turkey should be removed from NATO because of the attempted coup, Toner said U.S. policy has not changed and Ankara is “a NATO ally and a strong partner.”
He also said he hopes current developments would not affect U.S.-Turkey relations nor efforts by Washington and Ankara to fight Daesh and that Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday spoke with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, regarding the situation in Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said fringe military elements made a “vile” attempt to overthrow the country’s elected government. At least 208 people, including civilians, were martyred in the ensuing violence.
Some 2,839 military personnel involved in the coup attempt have been arrested, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including senior officers, were killed in the attempted coup.
Turkey accuses U.S-based cleric Fetullah Gulen of being behind the coup and has demanded he is extradited to face trial.