Spokesman says accusing president of planning the failed operation equivalent to claiming U.S. planned 9/11.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman on Tuesday hit out at claims that the attempted coup was orchestrated to strengthen his position.
“It is really nonsensical. This is no different really than claiming 9/11 was orchestrated by the United States—and that the Paris and Nice attacks were orchestrated by the French government,” Ibrahim Kalin told foreign reporters.
Turkey has accused Erdogan’s rival Fethullah Gulen of organizing the coup from exile in the United States, but the Islamic cleric retorted the president himself might have staged it.
Ankara said Tuesday it was sending files to the United States to back its demand for the extradition of the 75-year-old, who wields great influence in Turkey through supporters in the media and judiciary as well as a private school network.
Turkey has long sought his return from the U.S. to face trial at home over accusations of running a “terrorist organization” seeking to overthrow Erdogan, his erstwhile ally. “We’d like to see the U.S. authorities take action on this, we would like to see cooperation,” Kalin said. “If they insist on keeping him there for whatever reasons a lot of people here will think he is protected by the United States.”
Asked about an allegation the Americans were behind Friday’s events, he said: “One of our ministers made a comment at the heat of the event when the emotions were high… you have to understand the psychology here.” He said coup plotters would be tried “on charges of treason and attempt to change the constitutional order illegally.”
Kalin also defended the vast number of detentions after the coup. “It is only natural that the numbers will be high because they were involved in a criminal activity. Some were released after they were cleared of suspicion… The legal process will continue.”