Istanbul district seeks damages from US over coup attempt

Published 02.11.2016 23:34

The Municipality of Pendik, a district in Istanbul on the city's Asian side, filed a lawsuit against the United States for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages for "supporting and harboring the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ)," which is blamed for the failed coup attempt on July 15.

The lawsuit comes amid rising public reaction to the U.S. where Fetullah Gülen, the leader of FETÖ, resides.

Municipality officials filed the lawsuit at an Istanbul court and said asylum requests made by pro-coup officers from the U.S., the refueling of warplanes involved in the coup attempt by tanker aircraft taking off from İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey where the U.S. has units and providing a safe haven for Fetullah Gülen in Pennsylvania were reasons for filing the lawsuit.

Plaintiffs say the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) passed by the House of Representatives allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia for the 9/11 attacks encouraged them to take legal action, citing the principle of reciprocity in diplomacy and international law for bringing similar charges against the U.S.

Pendik Deputy Mayor Sami Divleli said there were no obstacles for the case to proceed, giving the example of the Mavi Marmara case. The families of the victims aboard the Mavi Marmara vessel, which was stormed by Israeli commandos six years ago, have sued Israel for the deaths of Turkish activists and a Turkish court ordered Israel to pay compensation.

Pendik Mayor Kenan Şahin said the Turkish nation exerted a great struggle to repel the coup attempt and citizens, including municipality worker Yalçın Aran, who lost their lives in the process. Aran was killed by coup troops when he tried to block the advance of tanks operated by coup troops with a bulldozer he drove. Şahin said vehicles belonging to the municipality were also damaged during the coup attempt and the municipality, adding its personnel suffered from "pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage" during the coup attempt.

"Those responsible for this have an obligation to compensate damages," he said.

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