In the wake of last Friday’s military coup in Turkey, US officials have repeatedly been forced to deny Washington’s involvement in and support for the abortive attempt to seize power, even as public reactions point to US disappointment that the rebellious officers were repulsed. Much of the heavy lifting in this regard has been delegated to John Bass, a US ambassador. Following the ending of the attempted putsch Turkish Labor Minister Suleyman Soylu directly charged that “The United States is behind the coup.” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has insisted that the coup was the work of the pro-American Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen. Directly taunting US President Barack Obama, he has demanded Gülen–widely believed to be a CIA “asset”–be extradited from his sanctuary in Pennsylvania. Erdoğan has charged that he made the request before, warning Obama that a coup was threatened, but the American government failed to act. While less direct than his minister’s statement, Erdoğan’s charges likewise lay blame for the military revolt at Washington’s doorstep.
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