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DIPLOMACY >Kerry: Claims US backed Turkey coup 'utterly false'

LUXEMBOURG – Agence France-Presse

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Secretary of State John Kerry called his Turkish counterpart on July 16 to offer U.S. support in the wake of a failed coup, and also to protest claims Washington had backed it.

The United States was quick to denounce the military revolt in its NATO ally Turkey and to express support for the elected government.

But some Turkish officials have reportedly suggested the United States was covertly sympathetic to the rogue military officers, a claim Kerry angrily denied.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said that Kerry had called Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for a second day running to promise U.S. support in probing the putsch.

"He made clear that the United States would be willing to provide assistance to Turkish authorities conducting this investigation, but that public insinuations or claims about any role by the United States in the failed coup attempt are utterly false and harmful to our bilateral relations," Kirby said of Kerry's call to Çavuşoğlu.

Earlier, Turkish Labor Minister Süleyman Soylu had reportedly suggested the United States was behind the revolt, which triggered fighting that left at least 265 dead.

The government has crushed the revolt, but has demanded expatriate opposition figure Fethullah Gülen be returned to Turkey from the U.S. to stand trial.

Kerry said earlier on July 16, during a visit to Luxembourg, that the United States would entertain an extradition request if Turkey provided proper evidence against Gülen.

July/17/2016

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