Turkish tabloid accuses US Army General of orchestrating the failed coup – a move which could put Americans in the country at risk

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Daily Mail article featuring ICSVE and Deputy Director Ahmet S Yayla, Ph.D.

by Alexandra Genova

July 25, 2016

  • Yeni Safak tabloid published the unsubstantiated claim on Monday’s cover
  • Piece said that US Army General J F Campbell ‘led the coup’
  • Campbell said claim is ‘absolutely ridiculous’ and not worth a response 
  • Experts say the accusations could put Americans in Turkey at risk
  • Turkish gov. officials accused US of backing plot days after failed coup

By ALEXANDRA GENOVA FOR DAILYMAIL.COM and ASSOCIATED PRESS

PUBLISHED: 16:03 EST, 25 July 2016 | UPDATED: 03:33 EST, 27 July 2016

A Turkish tabloid has published a front page splash accusing an American general of orchestrating the failed coup held in Istanbul earlier this month.

Yeni Safak, a  newspaper increasingly sympathetic to the Turkish President’s regime, printed a picture of US Army General J F Campbell along with the caption: ‘This man led the coup.’

More than 13,000 people in the military, judiciary and other institutions have been detained since the July 15-16 uprising, which killed about 290 people.

Yeni Safak, a newspaper increasingly sympathetic to the Turkish President's regime, printed a picture of US Army General J F Campbell along with the caption: 'This man led the coup.'

Yeni Safak, a newspaper increasingly sympathetic to the Turkish President’s regime, printed a picture of US Army General J F Campbell along with the caption: ‘This man led the coup.’

But Campbell dismissed the claim as 'absolutely ridiculous' and told The Wall Street Journal that the story 'doesn't even warrant a response'
Experts have said that Erdogan is playing a 'dangerous game' in pointing the finger at the US. Campbell is pictured

But Campbell (left and right) dismissed the claim as ‘absolutely ridiculous’ and told The Wall Street Journal that the story ‘doesn’t even warrant a response.’

The Yeni Safak piece accuses the recently retired general of working with the CIA to plan and support the coup and that accusations are led by ‘high level government officers’, reported Fox News.

But Campbell dismissed the claim as ‘absolutely ridiculous’ and told The Wall Street Journal that the story ‘doesn’t even warrant a response’. 

Experts have said that Erdogan is playing a ‘dangerous game’ in pointing the finger at the US. 

Professor Ahmet Yayla, former chief of counter-terrorism for the Turkish National Police and a member of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism tweeted on Monday: ‘This anti-American rhetoric reminds [me of] the ’79 Iranian revolution and what happened afterward. It is a very dangerous approach.’

Yayla said that the unsubstantiated charge could put Americans in Turkey at risk.

Experts have said that Erdogan is playing a 'dangerous game' in pointing the finger at the USA.

Experts have said that Erdogan is playing a ‘dangerous game’ in pointing the finger at the USA.

He added that ‘This bad mouthing is isolating Turkey more than ever in the world’ and also said the piece ‘takes things to a different level’.  

Some members of the Turkish government and other news outlets supporting Erdogan accused the US of secretly backing the plot in the days immediately following the failed coup, allegations which the US government has categorically dismissed. 

A top Turkish official on Friday accused the United States of ‘standing up for savages’ by not immediately handing over a U.S.-based Muslim cleric who the government claims orchestrated last week’s failed coup.  

Speaking in Washington, President Barack Obama said there was a legal process for extradition and encouraged Turkey to present evidence.

In a sign of increasing tension, Turkey said it was dispatching its justice and interior ministers to the United States this week to push for the extradition of the cleric, Fethullah Gulen. 

Among the nearly 9,000 soldiers under arrest in Turkey following the failed coup, around 160 are generals and admirals.

On Monday it was announced that the accused officers will stand trial in an Ankara district laden with symbolism for the country’s recent history – the scene of an army show of strength before a ‘post-modern coup’ ousted its first Islamist-led government in 1997.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said a new court house will be built in the district of Sincan, where the army paraded several dozen tanks and armoured vehicles on February 4, 1997 after an Islamist protest attended by the Iranian ambassador.

Among the nearly 9,000 soldiers under arrest in Turkey following the failed coup, around 160 are generals and admirals. Pictured: Groups of soldiers involved in the coup attempt in Turkey surrender on Istanbul’s Bosphorus bridge

More than 13,000 people in the military, judiciary and other institutions have been detained since the July 15-16 uprising, which killed about 290 people.

More than 13,000 people in the military, judiciary and other institutions have been detained since the July 15-16 uprising, which killed about 290 people.

Pro-Erdogan supporters gather at Taksim Square in Istanbul to support the government on July 16

Pro-Erdogan supporters gather at Taksim Square in Istanbul to support the government on July 16

Within months, Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan was forced from power by secular generals who used pressure behind the scenes rather than the kind of overt military force employed in three earlier coups.

Another Islamist politician at the time, the mayor of Istanbul, was tried for reading a poem which was seen as inciting hatred and jailed for four months in 1999. That man was Tayyip Erdogan, now Turkish president.

Late last week, Bozdag said there are currently no courts in Turkey capable of handling such large numbers of defendants, hence the need for a new building.

‘It will be within the district borders of Sincan,’ he told broadcaster CNN Turk. ‘We have to create a place where the trial can be held in a sound way.’

The pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper made clear the site was no coincidence. ‘Sincan was chosen especially for the prosecution of the putschists,’ it said.

The new court house, Turkey’s largest, would accommodate 900 people within a prison complex in Sincan, it reported.

In the past decade, Turkey has held trials for hundreds of defendants, including many military officers, accused of involvement in two previous alleged coup attempts, dubbed ‘Ergenekon’ and ‘Sledgehammer’.

Those trials were held in a court house in the Silivri prison complex, west of Istanbul. 

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey and to avoid travel to southeastern Turkey. 

In light of the July 15 coup attempt and the resulting potential for interruptions to travel and daily life, we suggest U.S. citizens reconsider travel to Turkey at this time. This replaces the Travel Warning dated July 16, 2016.