Putin says Erdogan kept silent about US link to Turkey coup attempt

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with US director Oliver Stone that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had not informed him about suspicions that the United States participated in preparation of a coup attempt in Turkey.

“No, he told me that he suspected [Islamic cleric Fethullah] Gulen and his organisation, his movement of organising that coup d’etat. He has never told me anything about the role of the United States. But I can see his logic – you can guess it. If indeed Mr. Gulen had taken part in this coup d’etat attempt – of which I have no idea – it would be very hard to imagine that at least the intelligence services of the United States would be unaware of what was happening,” Putin said, answering Stone’s question about suspicions of the Turkish president with respect to the coup’s plotters and alleged involvement of the CIA.

Putin added that US troops were deployed at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey and a number of troops participating in the coup attempt were also stationed at the base.

“We are a little bit concerned. And why is that? The thing is, tactical nuclear weapons are deployed in Turkey, US nuclear weapons. And when such dramatic events occur, the question arises as to what might happen to the nuclear warheads,” the Russian president noted.

A military coup attempt took place in Turkey in July 2016. It was suppressed by government forces, with over 240 people killed and an estimated 2,000 wounded. Ankara accused Gulen, who has lived in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, and his followers, of playing a key role in the coup. Gulen and his supporters strongly deny having played any role in the attempted coup and call for an international investigation.

On Friday, Stone released the transcript of his interviews with the Russian leader recorded between 2015 and 2017 that had been aired by the Showtime television network earlier in the week.