Erdogan Says Turkey's Coup Script Was 'Written Abroad'

Erdogan Says Turkey's Coup Script Was 'Written Abroad'

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused the West of supporting terrorism and standing by coups Tuesday, questioning Turkey's relationship with the United States and saying the "script" for an abortive putsch last month was "written abroad."

In a combative speech at his palace in Ankara, Erdogan said on Tuesday charter schools in the United States were the main source of income for the network of US-based businessman Fethullah Gulen, who he says masterminded the bloody July 15 putsch.

"I'm calling on the United States: what kind of strategic partners are we that you can still host someone whose extradition I have asked for?" Erdogan said in a speech to local representatives of multinational firms operating in Turkey.

"This coup attempt has actors inside Turkey, but its script was written outside. Unfortunately the West is supporting terrorism and stands by coup plotters," he said in comments which were met with applause, and broadcast live.

The 75-year-old Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies any involvement in the failed coup.

The fallout from the abortive coup, in which more than 230 people were killed as mutinous soldiers commandeered fighter jets, helicopters and tanks in a bid to seize power, has deepened a rift between Ankara and its Western allies.

Erdogan and many Turks have been frustrated by US and European criticism of a crackdown in the wake of the putsch, accusing the West of greater concern about the rights of the plotters than the gravity of the threat to a NATO member state.

More than 60,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service and education have been detained, suspended or placed under investigation since the cou.

"If we have mercy on those who carried out this coup attempt, we will be the ones to be pitied," he said, Reuters reported. 

In his palace speech, Erdogan said the military overhaul was necessary to prevent Gulenists attempting another coup.

"If we didn't take this step, the members of this Gulenist organisation (FETO) would take over the military, and they would point the planes and tanks bought with the taxes of our people against them," he said. "There is no turning back."

Erdogan told the representatives of global firms listening to his speech that he understood the sensitivities of the business community, vowing reforms to make foreign investment more attractive and saying the economic outlook was improving again after a fluctuation following the coup.

Turkish Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci was earlier quoted earlier as saying the cost of the coup attempt was at least 300 billion lira ($100 billion).

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