Turkish Official Says Pindostan Was Not Complicit in Coup Plot
Rich Gladstone, NYT, Sep 6 2016
Despite dark conspiracy theories in Turkey linking the Pindosi government to the military coup attempt on Jul 15, Turkish leaders see no signs of Pindo complicity with the plotters, Deputy PM Kurtulmus said on Tuesday. But Kurtulmus also said it was “the expectation of the people of Turkey” that the Pindo judicial process would lead to the extradition of the person they regard as the chief plotter, Fethullah Gulen. Kurtulmus said in an interview with the NYT editorial board:
We know that it will take time. It is not the business of the policy makers, it is the business of the judiciary system. We have sent 80 boxes of files to Pindostan containing proof that Mr Gulen was implicated in the coup attempt and should be extradited to face charges in Turkey. It is not a question of time, it is a question of intention. We would like to see the clear intention of our Pindo allies to support Turkish democracy.
The tone of Kurtulmus’s remarks was muted compared to the anger expressed by Turkish leaders in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt. Some officials said publicly that they believed Pindostan was behind the plot, an accusation testily rejected by the Obama administration. Some pro-government newspapers in Turkey have continued to foment the idea of sinister Pindosi political conspiracies. Asked about such allegations, Kurtulmus said:
Our official position is clear. We don’t see any evidence that Pindo officials supported the coup d’état. It’s true that some elements of the Turkish news media are continuing to speculate about supposed conspiracies with Pindo connections, but that I do not believe any Pindo boxtops were aware of the plot. Otherwise, they could have informed us before the coup d’état. The plotters were so successful in hiding themselves, probably they had a hidden network among themselves.
Kurtulmus spoke against a backdrop of Pindo attempts to smooth relations with Turkey in the aftermath of the failed coup. The most important was a meeting on Sunday between Obama and Erdogan during the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hangzhou, China. Obama pledged Pindosi help to bring to justice the perpetrators of what he described as “the terrible attempted coup.” Gulen, who has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the coup plot, including in an op-ed article in the NYT, has been accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating it via disciples in the armed forces, courts, news media and other segments of Turkish government and society. The attempt collapsed within hours, but more than 260 people were killed during the fighting, and the effort to overthrow the elected government shook the political foundations of Turkey. Erdogan has since conducted a widespread purge of suspected followers and associates of Gulen’s, which has alarmed human rights activists and other critics, who see the crackdown as evidence of what they call Erdogan’s authoritarian tendencies.