Pro-govt Turkish daily accuses US of having organised coup attempt; targets former US general

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Ankara, July 28: US President Barack Obama assured last week that his country had no role to play in the failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 and even called up his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan over it, but it seems the media in Turkey is not convinced, reported IntelNews---a specialised intelligence website.

On July 25, a popular Turkish daily called Yeni Şafak brought charges that the failed coup attempt had been backed by the US government, monetarily and otherwise. The Istanbul-based newspaper is known for its close links with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Erdogan and politically conservative stand.

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The daily said in its leading article on Monday that "senior government officials" claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the foreign intelligence agency of the US, had organised those in the military who were behind the July 15 coup attempt, the report said. It also alleged that retired US army general John F Campbell was the principal intermediary between the CIA and the plotters, it added.

Campbell, 59, had served as the US Army's vice chief of staff before taking over as the commander of all US forces in Afghanistan in 2014. He retired this year as the last commander of the International Security Assistance Force in the war-ravaged country.

Yeni Şafak's July 25 front-page headline read: "This man led the coup", next to a photograph of the veteran armyman. The article accused general Campbell of having "organized and managed the soldiers" for the coup and having handled "at least $2 billion" in CIA funds, which he allegedly distributed to the coup plotters via the Nigeria-based United Bank for Africa, the IntelNews report said.

The bank, however, denied the charges on Tuesday (July 26) saying it had no connection with the coup initiative.

General Campbell, on his part, also dismissed the charges saying they were "absolutely ridiculous" and "don't even warrant a response", the intelligence report said.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford also described the Turkish newspaper's article as "absurd", the report said.

The pro-government media in Turkey has repeatedly held the US responsible for the coup attempt but Yeni Şafak named a foreign individual to have plotted the coup---something which has happened for the first time.

Turkish authorities have previously held Fethullah Gülen---a religious figure who leads a movement against the AKP regime---from his exile in Pennsylvania in the US, as the main culprit behind the coup design though the latter denied all charges.

Turkey has also intended to seek Gülen's formal extradition from the US though the latter said it would do so only after gathering sufficient evidence.

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