Turkey Never Blamed US For Coup Bid: Turkish FM


Mevlut Cavusoglu says unless US extradites Fetullah Gulen, perception among Turks to continue that US is behind July 15

Turkey never blamed the U.S. for being behind the July 15 defeated coup, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.”As politicians, we never say the U.S. or somebody else is behind this,” Cavusoglu told a Qatari Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq in an exclusive interview.

Cavusoglu said Turkey did not take the rumors about the U.S. and other countries in the coup bid seriously.

“But, there is this perception in Turkey, unless they [the U.S.] extradite him [Fetullah Gulen], you are behind that. This is not my or my government or my Presidency’s understanding,” he added.

He said unless Gulen, leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, remains in the U.S., the perceptions of the Turkish people would remain the same.

Ankara accuses the U.S.-based Gulen of masterminding the foiled coup, which left 240 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. Turkey has so far sent the U.S. two official requests for his extradition.

In the interview, Cavusoglu also criticized European countries for its weak support for Turkey in the aftermath of the coup attempt. “But I cannot say that overall we got enough support from many European and Western countries. Some cosmetic support [was given], but after [offering] few words to support Turkish democracy, they started criticizing Turkey,” he said.

Despite this, he said, Turkey would continue with its “multi-dimensional proactive” foreign policy. “Our foreign policy will not change. We are part of Europe even though they don’t want to accept this. We are founding members of many European organizations, including the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development], Council of Europe,” he said.


‘Assad must go’

Cavusoglu reiterated that Bashar al-Assad must go in order to achieve a political transition in Syria. “We believe that Assad must leave as soon as possible and there cannot be a real transition with Assad,” he said.

He said Turkey and Russia had agreed on several issues concerning Syria, but added the two countries also took “different positions.”

“However, having different positions should not be an obstacle or a problem for our general cooperation on Syria,” he added.

Moscow and Ankara support different sides in the conflict, with Turkey deeply opposed to Assad’s regime, of which Russia is a major backer.

Syria has been wracked by conflict since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests — which had erupted as part of that year’s “Arab Spring” uprisings — with unexpected ferocity.