John Kerry set to visit Turkey with loaded agenda on Aug 24
AFP photoU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will pay a visit to Turkey on Aug. 24, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Aug. 5 amid tensions that emerged after Ankara expressed its discontent over the lack of support it received from the West in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt.
During Kerry’s visit, Turkish authorities are expected to express the country’s sensitivities on the issue of the failed coup attempt and reassert its demand for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic scholar believed to have orchestrated the coup attempt, to Turkey.
Late July 15, soldiers attempted to stage a coup, which failed when civilians heeded the president’s call to hit the streets and security forces grabbed control of the security situation.
More than 250 people, civilians, pro-coup and contra-coup soldiers, were killed during the failed attempt to topple the government.
The first U.S. official visit after the coup attempt was paid by U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford on Aug. 1.
Dunford’s visit came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed a high-ranking U.S. military official over remarks expressing concern about the ongoing fight against ISIL following massive purges in the Turkish army that were staged in response to the attempted coup.
The government and Erdoğan accuse Gülen and his movement – which the state calls the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) – to have infiltrated state institutions like the army, judiciary, police force and schools. Gülenists are also accused of orchestrating the coup attempt.
Only days after the coup attempt, Turkey sent an official extradition request for Gülen based on an extradition treaty signed between the two countries in 1979. The U.S. State Department said the Justice Department was now reviewing the request.
On Aug. 2, Turkey sent a second document to the U.S. demanding the urgent arrest of Gülen.