Allies Squabble Over Attempted Coup in Turkey, US Condemns Suggestions of Complicity

The U.S. ambassador strongly denied that the US backed the attempted coup.

— -- The statement reads like one between adversaries, not decades-old allies.

Today the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey issued a blistering rebuke of Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who has suggested publicly in recent days that the United States is harboring a terrorist he claims is responsible for Friday's failed a military coup.

"Some news reports -- and, unfortunately, some public figures -- have speculated that the United States in some way supported the coup attempt," Ambassador John Bass wrote in a statement. "This is categorically untrue, and such speculation is harmful to the decades-long friendship between two great nations."

Turkey is a member of the NATO alliance and is a key partner for the coalition fighting against ISIS. It also allows the United States to launch military aircraft from a strategically important airbase in southern Turkey, close to the fight in Iraq and Syria.

In an address to the nation on Saturday, President Ergodan called on the United States to hand over Fetullah Gulen, a Turkish exile he believes orchestrated the attack from his home in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Gulen has denied any involvement.

"With regard to the question of possible involvement in the coup attempt by persons residing in the United States -- we have been clear that the United States would be willing to provide assistance to Turkish authorities conducting their investigation into the coup attempt," Bass said. "If Turkey decides to submit an extradition request for anyone legally resident in the United States, it will be considered under the terms of the U.S.-Turkey extradition agreement."

Officials at the U.S. State Department say that although Erdogan has long complained about Gulen, no one from his government has taken any of the formal steps necessary to extradite him for a trial in Turkey. Bass said it would first require them to provide some evidence against Gulen.

Bass also addressed accusations that he has spoken out against Erdogan's government.

"I am aware that false words, attributed to me, are currently being circulated on social media, largely by users who appear to be sympathetic to Fethullah Gulen, suggesting a lack of respect for Turkey’s democratically elected government," Bass wrote.

"That purported statement is an absolute fabrication that appears designed to heighten tension between the United States and Turkey and undermine Turkey’s security. As I have said many times, Turkey and the United States are close friends and strong allies. We are bound by shared values, deep historic ties, and a NATO alliance, pledging each of us to the mutual defense of the other," Bass added.