United States reaffirms support for Turkey on 2nd anniversary of coup

The United States reaffirmed its support for its NATO ally Turkey on the second anniversary of what it described as a heinous coup attempt, but said the bid to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was a reminder that democracy required safeguards of fundamental freedoms.

Relations between the United States and Turkey have reached an all-time low in the last two years, not least because of Washington’s refusal to hand over Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamist preacher Turkey says was behind the coup. U.S. officials insist Turkey’s bid to extradite Gülen must pass through the judicial process.

The U.S. government offered condolences to the families of the nearly 250 Turkish citizens killed on the night of July 15-16, 2016 when fighter jets and helicopters flown by rebel pilots bombed government buildings and strafed civilians.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement it reaffirmed, “the United States’ steadfast support for our NATO ally Turkey and its democratic institutions”

The coup attempt, it said, was a “reminder that the preservation of democracy requires perseverance and safeguards for fundamental freedoms”, comments that draw attention to what rights groups says are Turkey’s democratic failings.

A state of emergency was declared shortly after the coup attempt and thousands have since been purged from their jobs or imprisoned, often on flimsy evidence.