The immediate wake of Friday evening’s failed military coup in Turkey looked like it was going to have a significant impact on US-Turkish relations, with power cut to the airbase at Incirlik, from which a significant number of US forces operate. There were even suggestions that the US might’ve been involved in the coup attempt.
Secretary of State John Kerry denied such claims, and insisted it was “irresponsible” to even suggest the US might’ve been involved with the coup, despite all those coups the US has been covertly involved with over the years.
Indeed, much of the speculation related to Kerry’s own statements in the early hours of the coup effort, in which he emphasized a US desire for “stability and continuity.” It was only when it became apparent that the coup was failing that US officials began issuing statements condemning the effort.
Still, by Sunday it was clear US-Turkey ties were not going to be seriously effected, with Turkish officials allowing the resumption of the US attacks on ISIS out of Turkish bases. US officials even raised the possibility of extraditing Fethullah Gulen, an exiled reformist cleric who Erdogan has blamed for the coup.
Kerry’s apparent ambivalence about which side would win during the coup likely reflects the administration’s practical view of the matter, as opposed to a sign they might’ve been directly involved in it. The US interest in Turkey is primarily as a military ally, which has meant that all other concerns are treated as decidedly secondary. Since the coup itself would not likely impact the US use of Turkish soil for its Syria War, it’s unsurprising US officials didn’t have much to say about it.
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