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Turkish MHP Leader: US Seeks to Save Its Coup Partners by Instigating Crisis

Devlet Bahceli, Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chair, said on Wednesday that the standoff between Turkey and the United States is not about a priest, hinting at Washington’s alleged role in the failed 2016 coup d’état.

“What is in Trump’s mind, who has destroyed the friendship and alliance with Turkey for the sake of a pastor? Make no mistake. It is not about a priest. [Having a role] in the coup attempt in Turkey, the U.S. is doing it to save its coup partners,” Bahceli said in an Eid-al-Adha ceremony of his party.

According to Bahceli, who has been a vocal ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since 2017 referendum, the U.S. is currently backing nearly 200 “traitors who have escaped the trial in Turkey.” “Each party in Turkey has to put its conflicts aside and come together to strengthen Turkey’s national consciousness.”

Turkey’s ties with the U.S. became tense after the Turkish court decided to put American priest Andrew Brunson under house arrest. Prior to that, Brunson had been imprisoned on terrorism charges for almost two years. Brunson denies that he was involved in a coup attempt against Erdogan two years ago.

The U.S. warned Turkey to expect more economic sanctions unless it hands over Brunson, adding there will be no negotiations on the priest’s release. Ankara wanted Washington to hand over Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania and who Turkey claims have plotted the coup. Gulen has denied his involvement.

The Brunson crisis has led to the collapse of the Turkish lira.

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