David Trayner — Daily Star July 29, 2016
Turkish media close to Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused retired four-star General John F Campbell of arranging the Turkish military’s attempt to overthrow the government on July 15.
They claim the CIA financed the botched plot with £1billion of payments via the United Bank Africa, in Nigeria.
A key Turkish government minister and Erdogan ally even broke cover and accused the US of being behind the plot.
The US has been accused of being behind Turkey’s previous coups.
The CIA station chief in Turkey reportedly cabled bosses in Washington to say “our boys did it” after the 1980 revolution.
The Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Safak – which has a circulation similar to the Guardian – splashed a picture of General Campbell across its front page with the headline “The coup was directed by this man”.
It said Campbell help meetings with the coup plotters at NATO’s Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, which is home to 3,000 US troops, hundreds of RAF airmen – and tactical nuclear warheads.
Power to the base was cut after the coup – and only restored this week.
Air strikes on Islamic State, launched from the base, have also been halted.
Thousands of Turkish protestors descended on the Incirlik Air Base, chanting “Allahu Akbar” and demanding the US leave the country on Thursday.
Many members of the Turkish military with ties to the US have been arrested as part of a purge that has seen a staggering 10,000 soldiers banged up.
James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, admitted it is damaging the fight against ISIS.
Speaking on Thursday, he said: “Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested.
“There’s no question this is going to set back and make more difficult cooperation with the Turks.”
The day after the coup, Suleyman Soylu – Turkey’s Labour Minister and deputy chairman of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party – said: “America is behind it”.
Campbell – the last commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan – has denied the claims, branding them “absolutely ridiculous”.
US president Barack Obama was also forced into a denial, saying: “Any reports that we had any previous knowledge of a coup attempt – that there was any US involvement in it – that we were anything other than entirely supportive of Turkish democracy are completely false, unequivocally false.”
The claims may seem far fetched – but the US is said to have had a hand in previous Turkish revolutions.
The country’s first coup, in 1960, was led by a US trained officer.
Turkey is a member of NATO but some western governments are concerned it is moving away from its modern secular traditions down the path towards Islamism.