NATO Says Turkey’s Membership Not in Question After Failed Coup

Authorities have closed 15 universities and around 1,000 secondary schools linked to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based Muslim cleric blamed for the July 15 attempted putsch. Gulen has denied involvement in the plot and condemned it

ISTANBUL, Aug 10 – NATO said on Wednesday that Turkey’s membership was not in question and that Ankara could count on its solidarity and support after last month’s failed coup, which has triggered deep purges in the alliance’s second largest armed forces.

“Turkey is a valued ally, making substantial contributions to NATO’s joint efforts … Turkey’s NATO membership is not in question,” the military alliance said in a written statement.

The abortive coup on July 15, in which rogue soldiers commandeered tanks, fighter jets and helicopters in a bid to seize power, has raised concern about the stability of Turkey, a key member of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State and battling an insurgency at home by Kurdish militants.

Turkey has been incensed by the Western response to the attempted coup, viewing Europe as more concerned about the rights of the plotters than the events themselves and the United States as reluctant to extradite the U.S.-based Turkish cleric it holds responsible.

President Tayyip Erdogan meanwhile met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg on Tuesday and said Putin’s rapid phone call expressing solidarity after the failed putsch had been a “psychological boost”.

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