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Gulenists to poison Ankara-Washington ties if US takes no action: Turkish FM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned US authorities against the presence of supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of having orchestrated last year’s failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the country, stating that they could poison Ankara-Washington ties.

According to Press TV, speaking at a panel called “July 15 Coup Attempt: A Year After” at the Turkish Heritage Organization in Washington on Thursday via conference call, Cavusoglu stated that Turkey has been trying very hard to purge Gulenists from all state institutions, but “the crime ring continues its activities through its schools, businesses and lobbying on global level.”

The top Turkish diplomat underscored that Gulen supporters would greatly harm cooperation between Turkey and the United States in case Washington hesitates to take proper measures.

“Do not be misled by their propaganda machine. The brutality of this terrorist organization during the coup attempt shows their hypocrisy; and we need the support and assistance of our friends to enlighten others about the wolf in sheep’s cloths,” Cavusoglu pointed out.

Turkish officials have frequently demanded the US to extradite Gulen, but no concrete measure has taken on the request so far.

Meanhwile, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday that he would propose extension of the emergency rule by another three months when it expires next week.

The state of emergency in Turkey was initially imposed following the botched putsch on July 15 last year.

Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when a faction of the Turkish military declared that the government of Erdogan was no more in charge of the country.

A few hours later, however, the coup was suppressed. Almost 250 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others wounded in the abortive coup.

Gulen has censured the coup attempt and strongly denied any involvement in it.

Turkey remains in a state of emergency since the coup, and Ankara has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups, who were believed to have played a role in the failed putsch.