Obama reiterates unwavering support for Turkish government

Obama reiterates US “unwavering support” for democratically-elected civilian Turkish government

Washington, July 17 (IANS) US President Barack Obama on Saturday reiterated “unwavering support” for the democratically-elected civilian government of Turkey in the aftermath of a coup attempt.

Obama made the remarks at a White House meeting with his national security and foreign policy advisers, where he received an update on the situation in Turkey, where reportedly over 200 people were killed and over a thousand others were wounded in the military coup attempt on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The President’s advisers apprised him of the most recent developments on the ground, and the President reiterated the United States’ unwavering support for the democratically-elected, civilian Government of Turkey,” the White House said in a statement.

Obama instructed his team to continue to work with their Turkish counterparts “to maintain the safety and well-being of diplomatic missions and personnel, US servicemembers, and their dependents,” the statement said.

So far, there has been no report that any Americans were killed or injured in the violence.

Obama and his team “lamented the loss of life and registered the vital need for all parties in Turkey to act within the rule of law and to avoid actions that would lead to further violence or instability,” Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

Obama also “underscored the shared challenges that will require continued Turkish cooperation, including our joint efforts against terrorism”, it added.

The White House meeting was held amid reports that the Turkish government sealed off the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, where US forces launched the air strikes against the terror group Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Turkey is a NATO ally and part of the US-led coalition fighting againt the IS.

Meanwhile, Turkey blamed a US-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, for the attempted military coup, while demanding Gulen’s extradition by the US government.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday reiterated a call for Obama to hand over Gulen.

“Please meet our request if we are strategic partners,” Erdogan said in remarks delivered in Istanbul.

Speaking earlier in Luxembourg, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would consider the extradition request for the cleric on condition that Turkey proves Gulen’s wrongdoing.

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