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Signs of Turkish-Western Clash, Washington: We Were Not Involved in the Coup | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Women wave Turkish flags as they gather in Taksim Square in Istanbul. Picture by Emilio Morenatti, Associated Press

Ankara, Tel Aviv, Jeddah, Brussels – While the Turkish government continued Monday its campaign against plotters involved in the failed coup attempt, the European Union and the U.S. urged Ankara to respect “international laws” in dealing with the current situation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday after a meeting with E.U. foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini in Brussels, that the U.S. and the E.U. will very carefully monitor developments in Turkey. Kerry said: “The level of vigilance and scrutiny is obviously going to be significant in the days ahead.”

From her part, Mogherini warned that Turkey’s bib for E.U. membership could be at risk after President Recep Tayyib Erdogan’s comments about the possibility to reinstate the death penalty against coup plotters.

Also on Monday, U.S. Ambassador in Ankara John Bass denied rumors that Washington was involved in last week’s failed coup.

In Jeddah, the Saudi cabinet headed by the Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud met yesterday and welcomed the return of matters to normal in Turkey under the leadership of President Erdogan and his elected government within the framework of constitutional legitimacy according to the will of the Turkish people, expressing the Kingdom’s keenness on the security, stability and prosperity of the sisterly Turkey.

On Monday, Turkish security forces intensified their campaign against suspected plotters involved in the coup after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that Ankara would not seize any efforts to arrest all plotters involved in Friday’s coup. Yildirim also issued a decision to cancel the annual leaves of all civil servants, a step which involved 3 million employees.

Last week’s attempted coup left at least 308 killed, 7543 arrested, including 6038 military personnel, 755 judges and 100 police officers. Turkish sources said that five of Erdogan’s assistants were among those arrested.

Separately, political sources in Tel Aviv revealed yesterday that an official at the Turkish government had contacted Israeli Foreign Ministry Director Dori Gold and thanked him, in the name of the government, on the positions expressed by Israel against the coup.

The Turkish official also asserted that his government is determined to implement the reconciliation agreement between both countries.

On Monday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg revealed he had spoken with Erdogan, in the aftermath of the attempted coup in Turkey, and reminded the Turkish president about the necessity of respecting international laws and democracy.

Stoltenberg said: “Being part of a unique community of values, it is essential for Turkey, like all other Allies, to ensure full respect for democracy and its institutions, the constitutional order, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms.”

Turkey arrested thousands of police officers yesterday as part of its campaign to cleanse the military forces and judiciary from plotters, driving fears among its Western allies of violating the rule of law.

Meanwhile a U.S. official asserted that Kerry had not threatened to withdraw the membership of Turkey from NATO, contrary to what the Washington Post had titled yesterday.

The White House announced yesterday it would consider extraditing cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who lives in exile in the U.S. and who is accused by the president of standing behind the coup.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest denied the U.S. was harboring Gulen as “factually incorrect.” Earnest added: “The United States has not received a specific extradition request from the Turkish government.”

Turkey said a formal request for the extradition of Gulen would be submitted in the coming days.
On Monday, reporters in Brussels had asked E.U.’s Mogherini about the repercussions of Turkey’s possible decision to reinstall the death penalty.

Mogherini told reporters: “No country can become a partner state if introduces the death penalty.”