Biden: US has no interest in protecting Gülen

The US Vice President says the US would continue to cooperate as Turkey brings forward additional information about cult leader Fethullah Gülen.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and US Vice President Joe Biden shake hands before their meeting in Ankara, on August 24, 2016.

US Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday said the United States was cooperating with Turkey in evaluating evidence against cult leader Fethullah Gulen.

Ankara wants Gulen to be extradited following an attempted coup and has sent 84 boxes of documents to Washington with a formal request for his extradition.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Biden said the US would continue to cooperate as Turkey brings forward additional information about Gulen who is accused of orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt.

Biden said the US had no interest in protecting anyone who had done harm to an ally, and that Washington offered unwavering support to Turkey in the wake of the failed coup.

Erdogan said Turkey would continue to provide US officials with documents to demand the extradition of Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999.

Erdogan said the US has "no excuse" for not handing Gulen over.

He said Turkey and the US are strategic partners and keeping Gulen would not benefit the US.

Earlier in the day, Biden met with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. 

After that meeting, Biden said  the US will continue cooperating with the Turkish government on extraditing Gulen.

Biden and Yıldırım also held a joint news conference in Ankara where Biden said he understood the “intense feeling” of the Turkish people after the attempted coup.

"I understand the intense feeling your government and the people of Turkey have about him (Gülen). We are cooperating with the Turkish authorities."

He said the US has "no intention of protecting a person who harms our ally."

Yıldırım said Gulen’s extradition was expected without delays.

US Vice President Joe Biden (3rd R) is accompanied by Turkey's Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman (4th R) as he visits damaged parts of the Turkish Parliament in Ankara, Turkey, August 24, 2016/Reuters

Addressing the Syrian conflict, Yıldırım said the US should reconsider its support for the YPG terrorist group while Biden added that Washington specifically told the group not to go west of the Euphrates River.

After seeing the extensive damage at Turkey's parliament from the night of the failed coup, Biden said:

"This is devastating. Can you imagine this happening at home? Can you imagine what the American public would be saying? American public could be doing? If that plane hadn't crashed in Shanksville Pennsylvania, it was heading for the Capitol. Imagine what that would have meant. The psychological impact on the American people would have been profound."

Biden is the first senior US official to visit Turkey after the failed coup in which at least 240 people were killed during efforts to resist the putsch.

He last visited Turkey in January and is the only US official to have built a closer personal relationship with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In Turkey’s request regarding Gülen’s extradition, Washington has requested tangible evidence proving that he ordered the coup.

Gülen has thus far denied responsibility.

TRTWorld and agencies