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Iran Press TV

US had no foreknowledge of Turkey coup attempt: Biden

Iran Press TV

Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:18PM

US Vice President Joe Biden has denied his country's involvement in last month's failed coup d'état against the Turkish government, insisting that Washington is the best friend of the Turkish people.

Biden, who is on a one-day trip to Turkey, held a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Wednesday, trying to convince the Turkish public that the US government was not aware of the attempted military coup that rocked the country on July 15.

"The US did not have any foreknowledge of what befell you on the 15th (of July)," Biden said, while condemning the "treasonous" act by the Turkish armed forces.

"The people of Turkey have no greater friend than the United States of America," he added, while emphasizing the continuation of Washington's "unwavering support" for Turkey.

The coup happened when a faction of Turkish armed forces attacked government buildings using tanks and helicopters, in an attempt to seize power from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Relations between the US and Turkey soured after Washington refused to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a US-based opposition figure who is viewed by Erdogan as the mastermind of the coup.

Biden said Wednesday that although the US had no interests in protecting "anyone who has done harm to an ally," legal standards needed to be met before Gulen's extradition was possible.

"I understand the intense feeling your government and the people of Turkey have about him (Gulen). We are cooperating with the Turkish authorities," he said. "Our legal experts are working right now with their Turkish counterparts on the production of and evaluation of the material and evidence."

Ankara has so far dismissed or suspended some 80,000 people from the civil service, judiciary, police and courts over their suspected links to Gulen.

The heavy-handed crackdown has prompted criticism from the White House. However, Biden said the Turkish officials had assured him that the rule of law will prevail in the investigations.

Biden's trip to Turkey makes him US President Barack Obama's highest-ranking official to ever visit the country in the aftermath of the coup.

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