Ankara congratulates Trump over presidential victory, calls for Gülen’s extradition
AP photoThe Turkish government has congratulated Donald Trump for his presidential victory on Nov. 9, while repeating its call for the extradition of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, accused of orchestrating the failed coup attempt of July 15.
“We congratulate Mr. Trump,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said. “I am openly calling on the new president from here about the urgent extradition of Fethullah Gülen, the mastermind, executor and perpetrator of the heinous July 15 coup attempt, who lives on U.S. soil.”
Yıldırım added that Gülen’s extradition could mark a “new beginning” in Turkey-U.S. relations.
“I am sure that the strategic partnership of Turkey and the U.S., which is based on a long history, has created an opportunity for the new president, paying attention to Turkey’s sensitivity in the fight against terrorism, carrying forward traditional friendly relations prioritizing peace and security in the region,” he said.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also congratulated Trump, vowing to strengthen strategic cooperation with Washington.
“We congratulate @realDonaldTrump, President-elect of the USA. We desire to reinforce with the USA our strategic cooperation based on trust,” Çavuşoğlu tweeted.
Later in the day, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey had always valued its relationship with the U.S.
“We believe that our relations that lie in trust will be further developed with Trump,” he said, adding that he believed relations between the two countries would grow stronger.
Commenting on Gülen, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey was clear in demanding the extradition of the Islamic preacher and that the U.S. should not delay the issue.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, meanwhile, said the U.S. voters had “refused to have their national will dictated,”echoing a theme that the government frequently uses in Turkey.
“Eventually, it is the public who votes. What I see is that as an election strategy, the American public said ‘no’ to having their will be directed,” he said.
Before Trump’s victory became certain, Bozdağ said Turkey would continue to work with whoever wins the presidency.
Bozdağ underlined the importance of public support, arguing that the Hillary Clinton campaign had been supported by the elite segments of society.
“As I looked at the campaigns, I thought Clinton’s stance must be weak to necessitate a campaign from pollsters, television stations, newspapers, sportspeople and artists. I know the elections in Turkey and in other countries and it’s very important to reach the public. If the public supports you, you win. Nobody wins with newspaper headlines, polls and television stations,” he said.
Turkey-US relations to be developed in new term
The minister said Turkey would continue to work with the new president.
“We have joint interests, strategic partnerships, [and] there are many agreements between us. The change of presidents will not bring a radical revision of these relations,” Bozdag said.
We hope US-Turkey relations will be better in this new term of the new president. We anticipate bringing our relationships further than today. We will see what will happen when the new president starts his duty,” he said.