Turkey’s president President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday (2 August) blamed Western countries for “supporting” the 15 July coup which left more than 270 people dead.
At an event for foreign investors in Ankara, the Turkish President stressed that the “west is supporting terrorism and taking sides with coups”.
“They have actors inside [Turkey] but the scenario of this coup was written abroad,” Erdoğan noted.
He accused the United States of refusing to satisfy the Turkish authorities’ demands for an immediate extradition of preacher Fethullah Gülen, considered by Ankara as the mastermind behind the coup.
Washington has asked for evidence of the cleric’s involvement, saying the extradition process must take its course.
“We did not request documents for terrorists that you wanted returned,” Erdoğan noted.
Gülen recently accused Erdoğan of “blackmailing” the US into extraditing him from Pennsylvania, where he lives, and urged Washington not to give in to Erdoğan’s pressure.
“His goal: to ensure my extradition, despite a lack of credible evidence and virtually no prospect for a fair trial,” he wrote in an opinion piece for the New York Times.
“The temptation to give Mr Erdoğan whatever he wants is understandable. But the United States must resist it,” he added.
Meanwhile, the political confrontation between the European Union and Turkey over the refugee deal continues, raising concerns about the possibility of a new wave of migrants to the Greek islands.
Migration flows from Turkey to Greece have intensified since the failed coup attempt in Ankara, according to official Greek data.
Erdoğan blamed the EU for not having disbursed the financial aid it had promised, as well as the visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens traveling to Europe.
“They still haven’t brought about their promises. They promised €3 billion, this money still hasn’t arrived. The visa issue still hasn’t been brought about. But they expect us to meet [our] obligations […] I am sorry but these steps will be taken simultaneously.”
The Turkish president hinted that Ankara would withdraw from the agreement if Brussels “fails to meet its obligations”.
“We are the ones who are protecting the European Union by sheltering three million Syrians and Iraqis,” he said. “You cannot demand the refugee return agreement without fulfilling your obligations. Sorry, but we are not a country that you can boss about,” he added.
German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in an interview with the daily Rheinische Post that Turkey should fulfil the EU’s conditions before the bloc will lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens. These conditions, he said, “are known to all sides involved”.
“It’s in the interest of both the EU and Turkey to find a joint solution,” Steinmeier said, adding that it was not useful to threaten and “put up ultimatums for each other”.