President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the U.S. for providing sanctuary to Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader Fetullah Gülen, who is sought as the main perpetrator of the deadly coup attempt, and its failure to handle the ongoing Syrian crisis. Erdoğan spoke on '60 Minutes,' a popular U.S. political TV show and said that he is disillusioned with American policies.
Asked by to Steve Kroft about any frustration he felt towards Washington, Erdoğan said: "Well, let me be very frank in my remarks and I have been known for my candor. I would not be speaking the truth if I said I was not disillusioned. Because I am disillusioned."
Referring to the July 15 coup attempt and U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen, Erdoğan said: "I am not going to blame the U.S. But that is what my people will think. Why are you still keeping that man?
"So as long you harbor him here, I am sorry do not get offended, but this is the perception of the Turkish nation and the Turkish people."
"This man is the leader of a terrorist organization that has bombed my parliament," Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey has extradited terrorism suspects to the U.S. in the past and expects the same from its American ally.
Turkey has called for Gülen's extradition following the coup attempt, which left 248 people dead.
On July 15, a small military junta linked to FETÖ attempted to stage a coup to topple the democratically elected president and government in Turkey and impose martial law. The attempt was prevented by military troops loyal to the government, along with police units and millions of Turkish citizens in favor of democracy. In total, 241 people consisting of mostly civilians were killed by pro-coup soldiers, while over 2,000 people were injured. The attempt was masterminded by Fethullah Gülen, who has been living in self-imposed exile on a 400-acre property in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania since 1999.
Erdoğan also criticized U.S. policy on Syria and said it had been discussed with U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
"They failed to rise to the occasion and handle these issues seriously," Erdoğan said. "This is quite upsetting for us."
Turkey has been critical of U.S. air support and arms supply to the PKK/PYD because it has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., Turkey and EU.
But the Obama administration has cited the fight against Daesh as justification for its support for the group.
"You cannot defend a terrorist group just because they are fighting Daesh, all terror groups are bad and we shall fight them all. But we haven't agreed with the U.S. on this," Erdoğan said.
Turkey vows to prevent any de facto separatist actions orchestrated by the PKK/PYD in Syria and the Turkish military has pounded YPG positions in northern Syria as it supports moderate Syrian opposition groups against Daesh.
Turkey has consistently expressed concern about the U.S. arming the PYD/YPG, PKK terrorist organization's Syrian affiliates, and considers it as a source of concern for the country, as these terrorist organizations pose a threat to Turkey. The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU and Turkey.
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