US ‘concerned’ by rise of anti-American rhetoric in Turkey
REUTERS photoThe United States is “concerned” by the rise of anti-American rhetoric in Turkey, especially over the controversy surrounding the extradition of the man accused of orchestrating the July 15 failed coup bid, as the U.S. State Department highlighted the extradition process was technical and not “influenced by emotion.”
“The extradition process is a very technical – it’s legally governed. This is not a process that is influenced by emotion or political rhetoric. It’s actually governed by a treaty,” U.S. State Department Spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters in a press briefing on Aug. 9, when asked to comment on recent remarks by Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ.
Bozdağ warned Washington not to sacrifice its relations with Turkey “for a terrorist,” referring to Pennsylvania-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, and said it was “in the hands of the United States” to stop the rising anti-American sentiments within Turkey.
“Stopping the growing anti-U.S. views in Turkey and its transformation into hatred is in the hands of the United States. It will be stopped [if it extradites Gülen],” Bozdağ told state-run Anadolu Agency on Aug. 9.
Even though Trudeau declined to “comment to that specific question” on Bozdağ, she explained that the process was “a legal, technical process, governed by the 1981 extradition treaty” signed by both Ankara and Washington.
“This will continue to move forward, and we’re directly in touch with Turkish authorities on this process,” she concluded.
Trudeau acknowledged Turkey’s warning to counter the negative rhetoric and called on Turkey, civil society and the media to “be responsible in their statements on this.”
Highlighting the U.S.’ position that inciting rhetoric was “not helpful,” the spokesperson said they had trust that their strong relations with Ankara would overcome the problems lying ahead.
“We believe our relations and our partnership and our friendship with Turkey is strong. We’ve said this publicly. We stand with the government of Turkey on this,” she said.
The U.S. Justice Department was expected to send a technical delegation to Turkey this week in order to provide legal assistance on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s request to extradite Gülen.
In return, a delegation from the Justice Ministry will later depart for the U.S. to discuss the extradition after the U.S. delegation’s visit.
Gülen’s continued presence in the U.S. will affect state-to-state relations as well as people-to-people ties, Bozdağ had said in his remarks, warning of a rising hatred against Washington. “Ties between the states can be repaired in one way or another. But there is something that can’t be repaired. There is a serious disturbance in the Turkish public against the U.S. The anti-U.S. mood has reached a peak. It’s on the rise toward hatred,” he said.