Turkey’s intel agency held meeting with CIA chief over FETÖ: President Erdoğan
Vahap Munyar – RIYADH
AA photoTurkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) has held a meeting with the CIA’s new director, Mike Pompeo, about the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to be the orchestrators of the July 2016 failed coup attempt, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
When asked about the details of his phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump, Erdoğan said that he specifically asked for their support regarding FETÖ.
“In our conversation, I asked for their support on the FETÖ issue. He told me that he would follow the issue closely and give the related units the necessary orders. He told me that he would send CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Turkey on his behalf regarding the issues that we conveyed to them,” Erdoğan told journalists in a plane upon his return from official visits to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Turkey demands the extradition of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, the leader of FETÖ, who is currently residing in Pennsylvania. Ankara has said they sent files regarding Gülen to the U.S. for his extradition on more than one occasion.
Erdoğan said that Trump told him to convey the documents to Pompeo.
“He said, ‘If you accept him, if you convey the documents to him, I’ll be more thoroughly informed.’ As a matter of fact, two days after our phone call, the CIA director made his first foreign visit to us. I hosted him too. We talked about the issues thoroughly with him. I told him about the events that unfolded [during the July 2016 thwarted coup] with visuals,” he said.
He said more extensive talk on the issue would be held between MİT and Pompeo, adding that the meeting lasted for five to six hours.
“We will wait for the results of it from them. In our talk with the U.S. president, we had the chance to discuss U.S.-Turkey relations. He told me on the phone that we can hold a face-to-face meeting in a short period of time. I believe that we will make evaluations that would lead to more results in our face-to-face meeting,” he said.
When asked if they discussed the construction projects in “safe zones cleansed of terror,” Erdoğan said its cost was high.
“In the beginning, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, ‘As long as there is no refuge to us, we can save 10 billion euros for this annually.’ I reminded her of that in her latest visit. I said, ‘Let’s calculate the cost of it. After calculating it, we can provide all the service here. We’ll do all of it, including the substructure, superstructure and social areas. We can build residences in areas with 500 square meter of space each with unique architecture. The people there can live in them.’ She said, ‘It’s true.’ I said, ‘This way, the people there won’t have the need to leave the areas and the people here can return.’ However, those evaluations did not turn into concrete support,” he said.
Noting that Trump told him he would solve the financial aspect of the issue, Erdoğan said that in the face-to-face meeting “the way would be cleared for them.”
Erdoğan was also asked whether the Gulf countries would provide any resource for the issue, to which he said that Trump informed him that they would.