Monday, August 1, 2016

US General Rejects Charges That He Backed Failed Coup in Turkey

Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, was put in the position Friday of denying that he backed the attempted coup in Turkey following a tirade aimed at him by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"Any reporting that I had anything to do with the recent unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey is unfortunate and completely inaccurate," Votel said in a statement.
"Turkey has been an extraordinary and vital partner in the region for many years. We appreciate Turkey's continuing cooperation and look forward to our future partnership in the counter-ISIL fight," he said in response to Erdogan's inflammatory remarks accusing him of "taking the side" of the coup plotters.
Erdogan, speaking at a police headquarters that was bombed by the coup leaders, took issue with an interview Votel gave Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado in which he said that there was "friction" in U.S.-Turkey military relations since the attempt to bring down the government.
"We have certainly had relationships with a lot of Turkish leaders -- military leaders in particular," said Votel, the former head of U.S. Special Operations Command and one of the most respected officers in uniform. "I am concerned about what the impact is on those relationships as we continue."  more