President Barack Obama spoke to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, offering U.S. assistance as Ankara investigates last week’s attempted coup but urging the government to show restraint as it pursues those responsible for the overthrow bid.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the two leaders discussed the status of U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan has accused of being behind the coup attempt and whose extradition Turkey has said it will seek.
Earnest said the Turkish government had filed materials in electronic form with the U.S. government, which U.S. officials were reviewing. He said any extradition request from Turkey, once submitted, would be evaluated under the terms of a treaty between the two countries.
Obama also made clear that the United States expects that any inquiry into the coup attempt should be conducted “consistent with the democratic” values of the Turkish constitution, Earnest said, while declining to answer whether the U.S. is concerned that the response won’t respect those democratic values.
“Those are the values that the Turkish people were defending in repelling the coup,” Earnest said. “One good piece of evidence of that is you promptly saw” all parties of the Turkish parliament condemning the attempted coup – even parties “who have vigorous political disagreements” with the Turkish government.