Turkish gov’t says US will have to revise its stance on Gülen after Turkey’s unity rally
AA photoThe massive rally on Aug. 7 which united all different segments of Turkish society to denounce the July 15 failed coup attempt will force the United States to revise its stance on Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic scholar believed to be behind the putsch, a government spokesperson has said.
“After this rally, we are observing serious hesitations by U.S. leaders towards harboring and protecting Gülen there,” Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Numan Kurtulmuş told reporters following a weekly press conference on Aug. 8.
Turkey has accused Gülenists within the army of staging the attempted coup on July 15 and urged its ally to extradite Gülen from the U.S. to be prosecuted in Turkey. Kurtulmuş said the U.S. will surely revise its stance on Gülen after hearing the voice of 79 million Turks gathered in Istanbul and other cities on Aug. 7.
“The leaders of the United States have to make a choice,” Kurtulmuş stressed, adding they will either side with the coup plotters or with the 79 million Turks who stood against the coup. “I know American officials are smart and I am sure they realize that this [stance on Gülen] is harmful to U.S. interests,” he said.
“Aug. 7 is a milestone,” Kurtulmuş said, informing that Turkish and American officials would engage in intense diplomatic traffic in the coming days. “We hope this process will yield a positive result.”
The massive rally that brought around 5 million citizens to Istanbul’s Yenikapı distract was accompanied by another 5 million in the rest of the country, Kurtulmuş said, saying the total number of Turks who have been hitting the streets to protest the coup has increased to 25 million in the last three weeks.
“The Yenikapı rally has opened a new door for Turkey. It opened a new door for a new language,” he stressed. The public rallies will continue until Aug 10, he added.
Kurtulmuş also said that there were still 216 military personnel on the run, including nine generals, but denied reports that three of these generals were in the hands of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.
In a sign of normalization, Kurtulmuş announced the ban on civil servants’ use of their annual leave had been removed on Aug. 8 and that parliament will recess on Aug. 19.