EU, US Back Coup Plot Investigations in Turkey

European Commissioner Stefan Fule

ANKARA (Today’s Zaman)–Both the European Union and the United States have released statements backing adherence to the law in the investigation into the alleged “Sledgehammer” coup plotters, reiterating once again their support for Turkish democracy.  

The EU and US both stated on Monday their belief that actions proceeding from this week’s detention of 49 military officers, almost half of them retired or active duty generals and admirals, over links to the alleged Sledgehammer coup plan should be made transparently and in accordance with Turkish law.

European Commissioner Stefan Fule and US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley both expressed their views on the historic detentions of those high-ranking officers. While Fule backed the functioning of the law in Turkey and said Turkish citizens have the right to learn the truth there, Crowley told reporters that the US does not have any specific concern over the detention of top commanders as part of investigations into alleged coup plots.

On Monday, 50 military officers, both retired and active duty, were detained over alleged links to the Sledgehammer plot. Among the detainees were 17 retired generals, four admirals, 27 other officers of various ranks and a noncommissioned officer.

Speaking at the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission meeting in Brussels on Monday, Fule described the allegations of some officers’ intentions to stage a coup as worrisome.

“Alleged attempts to destabilize Turkey which involved some military personnel are worrisome. It is the right of all Turkish citizens to learn all of the realities concerning this case. That means the construction of trust and the rule of law and democracy. These are vital bases,” said the commissioner.

He added that they are carefully following the ongoing Ergenekon case, in which defendants are standing trial accused of plotting to topple the democratically elected government and asked Turkey to advance its democratization efforts, noting that the military is still not under control of the civilian administration in the country.

Fule listed the European Commission’s priorities for Turkey in that respect as “judicial and constitutional reform and civilian oversight over the military.”

Crowley answered reporters’ questions at the US State Department’s daily press briefing. In response to a question asking whether the US had any concern about potential political instability in Turkey in light of the recent detentions of alleged coup plotters, he said the State Department did not have any specific concerns.

“These issues in the evolution of politics and society in Turkey are not new. I don’t think we have any specific concerns. Obviously, any action taken should be in accord with Turkish law and should be transparent,” Crowley said.

Crowley also labeled the US-Turkey alliance as the “most successful alliance in history” and said the two are working closely with each other on a variety of issues from Middle East peace to the situation in Cyprus and the situations in Iraq and Iran.

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