Ankara-A Turkish parliamentary delegation is expected to visit Washington soon for talks with members of Congress and civil society on Turkey’s failed July 15 coup.
The delegation, comprising members from the ruling party and the opposition, is set to explain to American lawmakers the attempted coup and the role of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Parliamentary sources said that the Turkish delegation will urge members of Congress and civil society to help Ankara convince Washington to hand over Gulen whom Turkey accuses to be the orchestrator of the failed coup.
The visit would come amid rising tension between Ankara and Washington as a result of the purges underway in Turkey’s military and other state institutions.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, General Joseph Votel, of siding with the coup plotters, a day after the general reportedly commented that the country’s turmoil could downgrade military cooperation with Washington.
“You are taking the side of coup plotters instead of thanking this state for defeating the coup attempt,” Erdogan said in angry remarks at a military center in Golbasi near Ankara.
The Director of U.S. National Intelligence, James Clapper, also said on Thursday the purges were harming the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq by sweeping away Turkish officers who had worked closely with the United States.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described the claims made by U.S. officials that the purges would harm the fight against ISIS as “meaningless.”
“The country will have a stronger army once it purifies it from its rotten members who plot for coups against legitimate governments,” he added.
Also Friday, Cavusoglu said Germany should extradite Gulen’s supporters.
“So there is something we want from Germany too. Many prosecutors and judges of the parallel state structure (Gulen network) escaped to Germany, and Germany has to extradite them,” Cavusoglu told CNN Turk television news network.
The number of detentions since the failed putsch has passed 18,000.