By Esra Kaymak Avci
WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. may not have shown enough sympathy for Turkey after the defeated July 15 coup attempt, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken conceded Tuesday.
“Maybe we didn’t communicate that we understood the depth of feeling the emotion in Turkey for the events of July,” Blinken said at the American Turkish Council and U.S.-Turkish Business Council’s 35th Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkish Relations.
Saying that the Turkish people fought bravely for the Turkish nation and democracy, he said that the U.S., as a NATO ally, remains steadfast in supporting the democratically elected Turkish government and its institutions.
Over 240 people were martyred and more than 2,100 injured during the July 15 coup attempt, leading to a nationwide probe to eliminate Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) sleeper cells which had infiltrated state institutions such as the judiciary and army.
Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999, is accused of being the FETO ringleader and mastermind behind the coup attempt.
Since the failed putsch, the U.S. has been criticized for having shown insufficient and belated support for Turkey and its people.
Turkish Ambassador to U.S. Serdar Kilic, also speaking at the conference, said that Turkey expected the U.S. government and American people to take a stronger stance against the putsch attempt.
He called the reaction of various American and European media outlets and think-tanks “disappointing,” adding that some went so far as to suggest that it was the government itself that staged the coup attempt.
On the fight with the PKK, which Turkey and U.S. both consider a terrorist organization, Kilic said that it was not right for the U.S. to arm the PKK’s Syrian wing the PYD in Syria.
The PKK resumed its decades-old armed campaign in July last year. Since then, PKK terrorist attacks have martyred more than 700 security personnel and also claimed the lives of many civilians, including women and children, while nearly 8,000 PKK terrorists have been killed in army operations.
Ankara considers the PYD a branch of the terrorist PKK, but the U.S. sees it as a “reliable partner” in the fight against Daesh. However, local media outlets have reported that the PYD has given weapons to the PKK, which the PKK in turn uses to attack Turkey.
“The unacceptable consequence in that regard is that NATO ally Turkey is being impacted by the weapons of another NATO ally [the U.S.],” Kilic said.