The US “could have done better” in its immediate response to the thwarted July 15, 2016 attempted coup, the former ambassador to Türkiye said on Friday.
James Jeffrey, who served as Washington’s envoy to Ankara from 2008-2010, told Anadolu Agency that both the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the attempted coup should be viewed as equal “attacks on not only democracy, but also our alliance,” a reference to the long-standing NATO ties shared by the US and Türkiye.
Reflecting on the US response, Jeffrey said “some in the” Obama administration were “slow and inaccurate in their descriptions of what happened.”
“We could have been better,” he said during a brief interview. “Administrations are often slow when they don’t have all the information. I know for a fact that was part of the problem with the White House. They didn’t have all the information immediately. They were trying to get more information.”
Also complicating the response was what Jeffrey described as “friction” in the bilateral relationship, which he said “unfortunately” has some in the US and Türkiye to “not immediately assume the best of each other.”
“I think we have to work on that,” he said.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup, which left 251 people dead and 2,734 injured.
The Türkiye-designated terror group sought to wrest control of the country using its members that had infiltrated the Turkish state, including the police and military.
Standing against the threat, the Turkish people showed the world that they would not tolerate any attempt to thwart their will as expressed through their democratically-elected government.
*Kasim Ileri contributed the story
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