White House Won’t Criticize Turkey for Crackdown

During a press briefing following last week’s failed military coup, White House press secretary Josh Earnest refused to criticize Turkey’s post-coup purge, insisting it was an “extraordinary situation,” and that while they wanted to see restraint from Turkey’s government, they weren’t comfortable criticizing anything they’d done.

Earnest also walked back Secretary of State John Kerry’s warning yesterday that the crackdown could imperil Turkey’s NATO membership, insisting that the US strongly values Turkey as a NATO member irrespective of their post-coup behavior.

Since Friday’s failed coup, Turkey has openly talked up a broad “cleansing” of society, arresting thousands of people and firing tens of thousands of others on suspicion they were in some way linked with “terrorism.” This included every single university dean in the country.

President Erdogan has also talked about bringing back the death penalty explicitly for use against coup plotters, and while naturally that possibility isn’t as big a deal for the US, with its own death penalty, the European Union has warned that such a move could effectively end any possibility of Turkey getting membership.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • RickR35

    So why is Turkey special now?

    • America Firster

      Turkey has always been special for one reason and one reason only. It has been the only Muslim majority nation friendly to Israel. And American foreign policy revolves around Israel’s wishes.

      • Tom Aman


      • Turkey was designated a special US military and economic aid recipient under the Truman Doctrine before Israel ever existed.

        • America Firster

          So what?

          • So no, Turkey hasn’t “always been special for one reason and one reason only. It has been the only Muslim majority nation friendly to Israel.” Turkey was special to to the US before Israel ever existed, because the US wanted to use it as a front line outpost in the Cold War.

  • lemur

    Seems like Hillary Clinton’s “HITLER DETECTOR” is on the fritz?


  • curmudgeonvt

    It seems that those at the top have lost their moral compass – assuming they had one to begin with…which I’m more and more inclined to doubt.

    The American people need to take a deep breath and think about whether we want to be led by these types of pond scum.

  • John Wells

    The EU has been dangling membership to Turkey for years.

  • 1MorallyBound

    Criticizing would be like the pot calling the kettle black.

  • I’m willing to bet bullion that the US helped Erdogan set up this Reichstag-style charade of a coup, probably part of the off the books fee for Incirlik. The Gulenists have long had contacts to American intelligence. My guess, is that they were egged on by American officials only to be thrown beneath the bus. It may sound far-fetched but there’s no such thing as far-fetched in Turkish politics. Just Google the Susurluk scandal.

    • esqualido

      Erdogan would beg to differ , IMHO(why do you think he turned off the power to Incirklik Air Force Base- they are running on generators now)

  • Tom Aman

    Of course not. This might be part of the reason:

  • esqualido

    ” the European Union has warned that [Turkey’s re-instating the death penalty]could effectively end any possibility of Turkey getting membership.”
    As if the U.S. were about to be kicked out of NATO, or dealing with EU nations because it has always had it.