WASHINGTON, July 29, 2016 — Turkey is a key United States ally and any suggestion of a Defense Department official supporting a recent military coup there is unfounded, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters today.
Cook reiterated a statement issued today by Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, who said in a release today, “Any reporting that I had anything to do with the recent unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey is unfortunate and completely inaccurate.”
Again quoting Votel, Cook added, “‘Turkey has been an extraordinary and vital partner in the region for many years. We appreciate Turkey's continuing cooperation and look forward to our future partnership in the counter-ISIL fight.’”
DoD Condemns Coup
The United States has repeatedly condemned the failed coup in Turkey and it continues to convey its absolute support for Turkey's democratically elected civilian government and democratic institutions, Cook emphasized.
Turkey is a close NATO ally and a vital member of the counter-ISIL coalition, said Cook, noting the U.S. military has worked very closely with its Turkish allies for decades to counter a wide range of threats to common security.
“At all levels of our military hierarchy, we are in regular communication with our Turkish counterparts. As General Votel said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado yesterday, Turkey's been an extraordinary and vital partner, and any reports that suggest [he] expressed support in any fashion for the actions of Turkish military officers who undertook illegal military action against the Turkish government are factually inaccurate,” Cook told reporters.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford have made clear previously, Cook said, that “any suggestion anyone in the department supported the coup in any way would be absurd. We look forward to continuing our close cooperation with Turkey going forward.”
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoDNews)