Erdogan: ‘The West is taking sides with coup’

Al Jazeera — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticised unnamed Western countries for what he said was support for the July 15 attempted coup, which left more than 270 people dead and nearly 70,000 others suspended from their jobs.

“The West is supporting terrorism and taking sides with coups,” Erdogan said, speaking at an event for foreign investors in the capital, Ankara, on Tuesday.

He repeated a complaint that no foreign leader had visited Turkey after the failed coup, while France and Belgium received visits in solidarity after attacks there.

“Those we considered friends are siding with coup plotters and terrorists,” he said.

During his speech, Erdogan also singled out Germany for criticism, after a German court ruled against allowing him to appear on a video link to address a crowd of about 30,000 supporters and anti-coup demonstrators in Cologne over the weekend.

Turkey had sent Germany more than 4,000 files on wanted “terrorists”, but Germany did nothing, Erdogan added.

‘Coup instigator’

The Turkish government says the coup was instigated by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who has been living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.

Turkey has demanded his extradition, but Washington has asked for evidence of the cleric’s involvement, saying the extradition process must take its course.

Erdogan complained about the request for evidence, saying: “We did not request documents for terrorists that you wanted returned.”

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag sent a second document to the US on Tuesday seeking Gulen’s arrest, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The minister said the second letter explained why there was an urgent need for the arrest.

The government has launched a sweeping crackdown on Gulen’s movement, which it characterises as a “terrorist” organisation and which runs schools, charities and businesses internationally.

“They requested certain information following our first letter; we provided answers to the question ‘why is it urgent’,” Anadolu quoted Bozdag as telling reporters in parliament, adding that Turkey had intelligence indicating Gulen might leave for a third country.

“I hope that the United States decides in Turkey’s favour, in line with democracy and the rule of law, and returns this leader of a terror organisation to Turkey,” he said.

The minister said that if Gulen left the US, it would be with the full knowledge of US authorities.

Meanwhile Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned Europe, Tuesday,  of the consequences if the European Union fails to deliver visa-free for Turkish citizens: Ankara will back out of the EU-Turkey deal that aims to stem the refugee and migrant flows.

Greek authorities in the north-eastern Aegean Sea are concerned about a new wave of arrivals and   urge the government in Athens to “do something, as the capacity in the hot spots has been surpassed.”