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Turkey Failed Coup Update: Tensions Rise Between US and Erdogan Administration After Failed Coup

President Erdogan

US Secretary of State John Kerry has denied the US played any part in Turkey's attempted coup, calling such claims 'utterly false and harmful'

Tensions between Turkey and the US have escalated following the attempted coup against the Erdogan administration, with the country's leader demanding the extradition of a US-based cleric accused of orchestrating the violence. Another senior official has directly blamed the United States.

The Obama administration has strongly denied any involvement or responsibility in recent events in the country. In a phone call to his counterpart in Turkey, US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “Public insinuations or claims about any role by the United States in the failed coup attempt are utterly false and harmful to our bilateral relations."

The warning came after Turkey closed its airspace, thereby effectively grounding US warplanes which have been targeting Isis forces in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

Fethullah Gulen
At the centre of the controversy stands Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania and promotes a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.

In a televised speech on Saturday, President Erdogan said Turkey had never rejected a US extradition request for “terrorists.” Addressing Washington, he requested the handover of Gulen and said, “If we are strategic partners, then you should bring about our request.”

Addressing Barack Obama on Saturday, the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said: “Any country that stands behind him is no friend of Turkey, is engaged in a serious war with Turkey. Today, after this coup attempt, I’m once again calling on you, I’m saying: Extradite this man in Pennsylvania to Turkey now."

Suleyman Soylu, Turkey's labor minister went further than Erdogan, suggesting the U.S. was behind the coup. "The US is behind the coup attempt. A few journals that are published there [in the US] have been conducting activities for several months. For many months we have sent requests to the US concerning Fethullah Gulen. The US must extradite him," he said.

Gulen has condemned Friday night's coup attempt by military officers that resulted in a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left dozens dead. Erdogan's government said Gulen directed the coup all the same.

Although he didn't outline any threat, Erdogan's emphasis on US-Turkish counterterrorism cooperation raised the prospect of a prolonged closure of the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey if he didn't get his way. The Pentagon said it was trying to get permission to resume air operations from the base, while adjusting mission operations in the meantime.
Turkish soldiers say they were 'not aware they were part of coup'

In their second call in as many days, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavosoglu told Kerry the government was in control of state institutions. 

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