The West shelters coup plotters – Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the U.S. and European countries for failing to extradite Turkish citizens who, he said, plotted the July 2016 coup attempt.

Addressing attendees of the Justice Summit in the Presidential Palace on Wednesday, Erdoğan was quoted by Turkish news channel NTV as criticising European countries for giving asylum to former military officials who are suspects in coup-related investigations:

No other country can suppress a coup attempt without deviating from the principles of rule of law. Those who staged a coup in my country come to you, and you don’t extradite them to us. When asked they say there is justice in the West. No, there is not.

Erdoğan also slammed the U.S. for failing to extradite U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. Turkey accuses Gülen of masterminding the coup attempt, and sent boxes of evidence for his extradition on “terrorism” charges. The U.S. Department of Justice has so far denied the request. Gülen also denies any involvement.

Erdoğan compared Turkey’s request for Gülen's extradition with the recent New York trial of Turkish state-run ender Halkbank’s deputy chief executive officer, in which Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab alleged he and Halkbank officials evaded U.S. sanctions on Iran with the help of Turkish ministers.

Erdoğan said:

Does the Zarrab case have anything to do with law? This is a political decision, plain and simple. But do they extradite the terrorist (Gülen) who fled Turkey in 1999? When they asked for 12 terrorists from us, we handed them over. We sent 4,500 boxes, but they don’t have any respect for law, or for justice. They defy Turkey with political decisions. I have no respect for that.

Erdoğan also made self-critical remarks, saying that the UYAP project, which is a database of all judicial records where only judges, prosecutors, and authorised lawyers have access to, was designed by Gulenists who at the time took positions in the Turkish bureaucracy.

“They used it for their own benefit, unfortunately,” Erdoğan said.