Skip to main content

Turkey and US officials to meet amid strained relations over foiled coup

Turkish officials will meet an American military leader amid concerns in Ankara that Washington may have been involved in the failed coup
Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attend a rally on 31 July 2016 in Cologne (AFP)

Turkey's military and political leaders were to meet on Monday in Ankara with the top US military commander in the first direct talks since last month's failed coup.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, will meet with Turkish chief of staff General Hulusi Akar and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in the Turkish capital.

Tensions between the two NATO allies have been aggravated by the foiled 15 July putsch by rogue elements in the military who sought to bring down the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Some Turkish officials have alleged that Washington could have had a hand in the plot, although the suggestion has been firmly denied by top US officials.

Turkey successfully thwarted the attempted coup, blaming it on a military faction loyal to Erdogan's arch-foe Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric who has been in self-imposed exile in the United States for years.

From his secluded compound in Pennsylvania, the preacher has denied the charges.

Ankara has dispatched dossiers to Washington which it says proves Gulen's involvement in the putsch, with the White House on Friday confirming it had received documents from the Turkish government requesting the cleric's extradition from Pennsylvania.

Last week, Erdogan lashed out at the top US general in the Middle East after he expressed concerns over military relations between the two allies in the wake of the putsch. 

Quoted by US media, US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel said that the failed coup and subsequent round-up of dozens of generals could affect American cooperation with Turkey.

"You are taking the side of coup plotters instead of thanking this state for defeating the coup attempt," the Turkish leader said. 

The US State Department has rejected suggestions it had any hand in the coup as "ludicrous".

Dunford will also visit the Incirlik air base, which is used by the US-led coalition for air raids against Islamic State militants, a US official told AFP. 

Ankara suspects that the base in southern Turkey was used by putschists to resupply war planes involved in the 15 July operation. 

Turkish authorities had temporarily cut power to the huge base in the wake of the aborted coup, later restoring electrical power supplies. 

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.