Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has continued his rhetoric that the West had a hand in the failed coup three weeks ago.

Why is all of this important? Turkey is still a member of NATO and the U.S. uses their base to strike ISIS in Syria. He said:

“The West is supporting terrorism and taking sides with coups,” Erdogan said, adding that forces unhappy with Turkey’s rise as a regional power were behind the coup.

“They have actors inside (Turkey) but the scenario of this coup was written abroad,” he said during a speech at an event for foreign investors in Ankara.

He still blames the Gülen Movement, led by scholar Fehtullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania. He continued by saying he misjudged the movement, implying they are more dangerous than anyone thought:

“Look, if it was said 20 years ago, 15, 10 or even three-four years ago, believe me, I had not thought that much [about a coup attempt]. Unfortunately, we were seriously mistaken. May God forgive us,” Erdoğan said during an interview with private broadcaster ATV, referring to the alleged role of the movement in the failed coup attempt.

He took shots at the U.S. for allegedly hiding and protecting Gülen:

Speaking in Ankara during a high level meeting with international investors, “What kind of partners are we if you request documents when we ask for a terrorist?” Erdoğan asked the U.S. administration who has been asking for evidence to extradite Gülen.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ sent another extradition document to the U.S. over Gülen:

“They requested certain information following our first letter; we provided answers to the question ‘why is it urgent,”‘ Anadolu quoted Mr Bozdag telling reporters in parliament, adding Turkey had intelligence indicating Mr Gulen might leave for a third country.

“I hope that the United States decides in Turkey’s favor, in line with democracy and the rule of law, and returns this leader of a terror organization to Turkey,” he said.

However, it is not easy for the government to extradite a person:

Lawyers at the State and Justice departments would review it to determine if the alleged offense is a crime in both countries and whether it falls within the scope of the countries’ extradition treaty. The request would then go before a judge, who would rule on whether probable cause existed that a crime was committed and that the accused person did it.

If the request survived those tests and is found lawful, it would still need to get the approval of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who can consider non-legal factors, such as humanitarian arguments.

The U.S.-Turkey extradition treaty went into force in 1981 and covers any offense punishable in both countries by more than a year in prison. It does not cover offenses “of a political character,” although it does cover “any offense committed or attempted against a head of state or a head of government,” according to the treaty.

Erdoğan also claimed he sent over 4,000 files to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about terrorists in the country. She has not responded to his request.

The West did show support for the Turkish government during and after the coup, but things have cooled because Erdoğan has purged over 50,000 people and detained almost 20,000 people without any evidence and denying them access to lawyers.


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