US Embassy confirms call to key coup attempt figure in line with cooperation with Turkish officials
Mesut Hasan Benli - ANKARAThe United States Embassy to Turkey has confirmed the occurrence of a call from the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul to a phone belonging to fugitive coup attempt suspect Adil Öksüz on July 21, 2016, as stated in an indictment prepared by a Turkish court. The embassy said the call was part of law enforcement cooperation with Turkish officials to stop Öksüz from fleeing the country.
“As a direct result of close U.S.-Turkish law enforcement cooperation, a call from the U.S. Consulate General Istanbul to a phone belonging to Adil Öksüz on July 21, 2016 did occur. On that day, the Turkish National Police called the U.S. Mission Turkey to request our assistance in preventing Adil Öksüz from fleeing Turkey,” read the written statement issued by the embassy on March 29.
“We then revoked his U.S. visa and, as required by U.S. law, tried to call him to inform him of the cancellation. Far from being suspicious, the call from the Consulate General illustrates the close U.S.-Turkish law enforcement cooperation following the coup attempt,” it added.
The statement followed the release of the indictment by a prosecutor on the failed coup attempt which suggested that a phone call was made by a mobile phone registered under the name of the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul to Adil Ökzüz, a suspected leader of the July 2016 coup attempt, six days after the uprising.
Prosecutors have completed the indictment on coup events centered on the Akıncı Air Base in Ankara, the headquarters of the coup attempt where members of the top brass were held captive by the plotters for hours, sources said, adding that the indictment would be made public on March 30.
The phone call from the U.S. Consulate General was made on July 21, 2016, the indictment reportedly stated.
Öksüz was caught while trying to escape from the Akıncı Air Base on the night of July 15, 2016, but he was released a short while later by a court in the Sincan district. He has been at large since then.
It was previously revealed that Öksüz met high-level commanders in Ankara while preparing for the coup, and it has also been claimed that Öksüz met U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen to show him plans for the putsch.
Earlier reports said Öksüz was the “Air Force imam” of the Fethullah Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ).
While the operation to apprehend Öksüz is continuing, authorities are conducting legal and administrative investigations. The Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) is investigating members of the judiciary responsible for releasing him, while also probing personnel in the Sincan Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Interior Ministry.
The U.S. has repeatedly refuted some Turkish media reports and accusations that it was involved in or had any advance knowledge of the coup attempt in Turkey.
“I continue to be deeply disturbed and offended by the accusations - without a shred of fact - that the United States government was involved in this illegal coup attempt, or must have known about this illegal coup attempt. I just want to say again, as I’ve said before and as we’ve said from Washington, the United States government did not plan, direct, support or have any advance knowledge of any of the illegal activities that occurred the night of July 15 and into July 16, full stop,” U.S. Ambassador to Ankara John Bass told reporters in Istanbul on Aug. 4 last year.