ATHENS – After accusing Greece repeatedly of training terrorists to be used against Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it’s also protecting them, along with the United States and some European Union countries.
He said they were member of what Turkey calls the Gülenist Terrorist Group (FETÖ) named for a cleric in exile in Pennsylvania whom he blamed for orchestrating a failed 2016 coup attempt agaisnt him.
“Who protects them now? Mainly Greece. They run away to Greece, they run away to Europe. They always fled there. They live in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, England and America,” he said, reported the pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah.
“America is hiding this man. Who is hiding? Biden is hiding. They gave them a huge mansion in Pennsylvania, where this man lives. If you ask me where is the center of terrorists, that’s what I’m telling you right now,” Erdoğan said.
He was talking to Turkish reporters after his visit to Uzbekistan, where he attended the ninth summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) directing his fiery rhetoric now at US President Joe Biden who promised to sell Turkey more F-16s that could be used against Greece and undermine NATO.
The paper said that Gulen supporters fled Turkey when the coup failed and that other countries are refusing to extradite them, including several requests for the US to send the cleric back.
Earlier, Greece’s Citizens’ Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos rejected comments by Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu who said Greece was training members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Lavrio.
“The statements of the Turkish interior minister that Greece is a training center for terrorists are provocative and have nothing to do with the truth and reality. And the whole of Europe knows this,” said Theodorikakos about Greece’s response.