Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Obama Denies US Involvement in Coup

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Obama Denies US Involvement in Coup

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Friday denied prior knowledge or involvement by the U.S. in last week's failed coup attempt in Turkey, saying reports to the contrary are "unequivocally false." Obama said he had made that clear to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when they spoke by telephone earlier this week. Obama said he also stressed to Erdogan that he ensure everyone in the Turkish government understands that any reports to the contrary are untrue. Diplomatic relations and the safety of Americans on the ground in Turkey could be at risk otherwise, the president said.

"Any reports that we had any previous knowledge of a coup attempt, that there was any U.S. involvement in it, that we were anything other than entirely supportive of Turkish democracy are completely false, unequivocally false, Obama said during a joint appearance at the White House with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

"And I said that to President Erdogan. And I also said to him that he needs to make sure that not just he, but everybody in his government understand that those reports are completely false because when rumors like that start swirling around, that puts our people at risk on the ground in Turkey and it threatens what is a critical alliance and partnership between the United States and Turkey.

After the coup attempt, Obama issued written statements expressing strong support for Turkey's democratically elected, civilian government. On Friday, he expressed concern over the crackdown Erdogan has undertaken since the overthrow was thwarted.

Turkey, a NATO ally, is a key player in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group. U.S. military jets use the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey to conduct air strikes against IS extremists in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. Defense Department said Friday that Turkey had restored electrical power to the base after it was cut following the failed coup. …

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