Jan 09 2018

Turkey’s Erdoğan accuses United States of plotting against his gov't

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the United States was plotting to undermine Turkey’s elected government and sending weapons to a terrorist organisation, he told party parliamentarians at their weekly meeting.

“Those who were unsuccessful in the July 15 coup attempt in our country are now in search of other coup initiatives,” Erdoğan was quoted by pro-government Vatan newspaper as saying.

Turkey blames the abortive coup of July 15 2016 on the Fethullahist Terror Organisation (FETÖ), its name for the followers of U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen. Turkey has requested the United States to extradite Gülen and has been angered by Washington’s refusal to immediately do so. The U.S. administration says the request must go through the judicial process first.

“At the moment, as you know, the case in America is a sign of a political coup attempt. This is an operation to squeeze Turkey on the economic point by FETÖ, the CIA and the FBI.”

This attempt – the result of international jealousy at Turkey’s successes under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) – would also fail, Erdoğan said.

“Some are uncomfortable, jealous with where Turkey has come to over the last 15 years,” he said.

“What can we talk about to our strategic partners and friends if they give all kinds of weapons to a terrorist organisation on our borders?”

Another bone of contention between the United States and Turkey is the U.S. arming of Kurdish militia fighting Islamic State in Syria. Turkey says the Kurdish Syrian group is allied to Kurdish separatists fighting government forces in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast.

Erdoğan praised the “spirit of August 7” displayed by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli, a reference to a large national unity meeting in the wake of the coup at which Bahçeli and Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu spoke alongside AKP figures.

“I believe that with this local and national stance, those who want to divide and split us up in this country will not reach their goals,” he said.

He had no praise for yesterday’s allies who had turned against him – a likely reference to the recent public statements of former president and former AKP ally Abdullah Gül.

“No-one who was under our party’s roof in the past and today wanders outside in different weather has any right to say anything about our party,” Erdoğan said. “Everyone should be aware of whereabouts they are before they open their mouths.”

“These are people who did not provide the slightest support in the existential struggle we as the AKP carried out together with the nation and whose silhouettes are now seen in the opposition ranks,” he said.

“Now they feel like they have the right to speak. I’m sorry … they are no longer welcome passengers in this caravan.”