Despite suggestions that the US and Turkey are both softening their tones in an attempt to get back on the same page, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered a harsh speech today, accusing the West in general and the US in particular of “supporting terrorism” and siding with coup-plotters against his country.
Erdogan insisted that the coup attempt may have been carried out inside Turkey, but the script was “written abroad,” adding that the Gulen Movement, which he has blamed for the coup, receives most of its funding through charter schools inside the United States.
Gulen organizations getting bankrolled by US taxpayer funding is a long-standing matter of investigation within the US, and Erdogan seems keen to position this as part of his narrative that the US was secretly behind the coup movement. That Gulen lives in exile in the US has added to that.
“What kind of strategic partners are we,” Erdogan asked, “that you can still host someone whose extradition I have asked for?” Turkey requested Gulen’s extradition almost immediately after the coup attempt, and officials have presented US requests for evidence as a national insult, insisting if the US was a good ally they wouldn’t ask so many questions and would just hand him over.
Turkish officials have added the extradition request is “urgent,” because they fear Gulen might flee to a third country that would be even less willing to hand him over unconditionally.