US general's remarks on Turkey coup bid 'totally wrong'
Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik also says 'Gulen more dangerous than Osama Bin Laden'
Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik has described U.S. Central Command chief’s recent remarks about the purge of Turkish military officers involved in the July 15 coup attempt as "totally wrong" and “incompatible” with strategic, military and regional realities.
In remarks made on Turkey’s private NTV channel Friday, Celik criticized Gen. Joseph Votel for his statements, saying he should have condemned the coup attempt, especially since Turkey was the U.S.’s ally.
“Both countries are members of NATO. Inside the Turkish army under NATO body, there has been a riot. A high ranked commander in NATO army strictly should react against the rebellion in the neighboring army,” he said.
“If it is not well-meant, it is totally wrong. It almost contains an implication favoring the coup attempt. It is very shortsighted, which cannot be made at all,” he added. “The U.S. Defense Ministry should address this.”
On Thursday, Votel told the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado: "We have certainly had relationships with a lot of Turkish leaders -- military leaders in particular.
"I am concerned about what the impact is on those relationships as we continue.” he said.
Votel was referring to some Turkish officers who are now in jail for their role in the coup attempt. He had voiced concerns that in the long run the coup and Ankara’s efforts to clear the military of coup supporters would have an effect on U.S. operations in the region. “I am concerned that it will impact the level of cooperation and collaboration that we have with Turkey which has been excellent frankly,” Votel said.
About U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen’s extradition, the Turkish minister said: “Gulen is even more dangerous than Osama bin Laden.
“Gulen has tried to annihilate the secular government of Turkey and replace it with deviant religious thought. They targeted Turkey’s democratic state to install a military dictatorship instead.”
Turkey's government has repeatedly said the deadly coup attempt, which martyred at least 246 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, was organized by followers of U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen.
Gulen is also accused of running a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.