President Barack Obama pledged Sunday U.S. intent to help Turkey “bring to justice” the coup plotters who attempted to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July.
Since the attempt, Erdogan has accused Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers are known as Gulenists, of conspiring with key assets in Turkey to bring the government to its knees, AFP reports.
“We will make sure that those who carried out these activities are brought to justice,” Obama said at the G20 summit in China.
Gulen has lived in exile in Pennsylvania since the 1990s, prompting speculation from Turkish authorities that the U.S. used Gulen as a puppet to instigate the uprising to unseat Erdogan. Turkish media have in the past alleged that the Gulenists are a CIA-created movement.
As a result, Erdogan has called for the U.S. to extradite Gulen post-haste, and the Obama administration has responded that it’s absolutely willing to do so, as long as Turkey can provide sufficient evidence of Gulen’s involvement in the coup. Erdogan said Sunday he plans to submit this evidence once it’s fully collected.
Such a stance has damaged U.S.-Turkey relations, but Obama’s pledge to help find the coup plotters is an attempt to repair the rift.
Obama at the G20 summit in China praised Turkey, saying the Turkish people “affirmed their commitment to democracy.”
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