US Had ‘No Foreknowledge Of Turkey Coup Bid’


Vice President Joe Biden says US is Ankara’s greatest ally

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday pledged to do everything to help bring those behind the July 15 coup attempt to justice.Speaking during a day-long visit to the Turkish capital Ankara, he said American officials were working alongside Turkish counterparts on the extradition case of Fetullah Gulen, the U.S.-based head of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization said to be behind the defeated coup.

“Our legal experts are working right now with their Turkish counterparts on the production of an evaluation of material and evidence that needs to be supplied to an American court to meet the requirements under our law in the extradition treaty to extradite Gulen,” Biden said during a news conference with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

He had earlier toured parts of the Turkish parliament building damaged by bombs during the coup attempt and addressed deputies in the assembly chamber.

Biden said his country had “no interest whatsoever” in shielding anyone who “has done harm to an ally but we need to meet the legal standard requirement under our law”.

Americans understood the feelings of the Turkish people in the wake of the attempted coup, which resulted in at least 240 deaths, Biden said but warned that President Barack Obama did not have the power to extradite anyone.

“Only an American court can do that,” he said.

Responding to repeated claims in some Turkish media outlets following the coup attempt that the U.S. had been complicit, Biden reiterated that Washington “did not have any foreknowledge of the events”.

Adding that the U.S. had “immediately condemned the coup,” Biden said: “You have no greater friend than the United States of America.”

Anti-Daesh operation

During the news conference, Yildirim said the “sorrow” of the Turkish people about the coup bid could be relieved if the Gulen extradition process speeds up.

“Turkish people’s sorrow and disappointment on this issue will quickly turn positive if his [Gulen] extradition process speeds up and our cooperation continues increasingly in this regard,” Yildirim said.

“Neither the 15 July coup attempt nor any other problems should ever damage the relations between Turkey and the U.S.,” Yildirim added.

Yildirim also said the U.S. and Turkey agreed that PYD elements in northern Syria should never advance west of the Euphrates River.

“We evaluated also this issue during today’s meeting. We once again see the determination of the U.S. on this issue,” Yildirim added.

Yildirim also said Turkey and the U.S. assured each other that YPG/PYD forces “will not advance” west of the River Euphrates.

He also called on the U.S. to “review” its perspective on the YPG and PYD, which the U.S. does not recognize as a terrorist organization, unlike Turkey.

Turkish tanks crossed the border into northern Syria on Wednesday as part of operations to clear Daesh terrorists from the city of Jarabulus.

This ground intervention followed Turkey’s shelling of northern Syria, hitting 81 targets almost 300 times from 4.00 a.m. (0100 GMT) early Wednesday.

Turkish officials are blaming Daesh for Saturday’s deadly blast at a wedding ceremony in southeastern province of Gaziantep which left 54 people dead.

Wednesday’s anti-Daesh operation, called Euphrates Shield, aims to support U.S.-led coalition forces, strengthen Turkey’s border security by clearing terrorist groups and maintain Syria’s territorial integrity.