President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry issued a quick response to the attempted military coup in Turkey. A short statement on their phone call said that everyone in Turkey should support the democratically-elected government.
The U.S. has a complex relationship with Turkey, the only Muslim-majority country in NATO. Turkey had been a stable force in the Middle East until the coup and an ally in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken more autocratic measures as of late. So the coup leaders have said that they are carrying out their constitutional duties to ensure democracy. Therefore, Obama is in a difficult situation.
Here’s the full statement.
The President spoke tonight by phone with Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the events in Turkey. The President and Secretary agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected Government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed. The Secretary underscored that the State Department will continue to focus on the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Turkey. The President asked the Secretary to continue to keep him updated as the situation unfolds.
Kerry, who is in Luxembourg, said that the U.S. government stands behind Erdogan’s government.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara issued a statement to U.S. citizens visiting Turkey, asking that they stay inside and do not try to get to the embassy or consulates.
We urge U.S. citizens to contact family and friends to let them know you are safe. We have seen reports that social media is blocked, but you can contact friends and family by email, telephone, or SMS. We encourage U.S. citizens to shelter in place and do not go the U.S. Embassy or Consulates at this time. Monitor local press for updates, avoid areas of conflict, and exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of any military or security forces.
On Saturday morning, the Turkish government announced that it had taken control and the coup had failed. At least 161 people were killed.