US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to visit Turkey in late August, Hurriyet reported, in what is being seen as a move by the US to repair ties that have become strained in the wake of July's failed coup attempt.
Relations between Ankara and Washington have gone sour as the Turkish government bridles at the US' failure to extradite the US-based cleric Fetullah Gulen, who it blames for the attempted coup. The US says it needs hard evidence of the involvement of Gulen, who has been living in the US since 1999, before it hands him over.
No doubt, anti-American and anti-Western sentiments in Turkey are on the rise in the wake of the coup. A survey by polling agency Any-Ar showed that 73% of Turks believe foreign countries were behind the military officers who started the foiled coup, while nearly two-thirds of the population are certain that Gulen was its mastermind. The country’s former chief of general staff, Ilber Basbug, has gone so far as to claim that the CIA was behind the coup attempt.
A third of the military’s generals have been arrested and thousands of officers dismissed since. Defence Minister Fikri İsik warned earlier this week that 311 soldiers, including nine generals, were still at large. However, nearly 60% Turks do not believe a second coup attempt is possible, the Andy-Ar survey also showed.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in Istanbul have decided to launch a probe into four ex-ministers over their alleged ties to Gulen. The former cabinet members accused of links to the cleric are ex-Deputy PM Bulent Arinc, ex-justice minister Sadullah Ergin, ex-education minister Huseyin Celik and ex-sports minister Suat Kilic. The investigation has been initiated following a lawyer’s complaint.