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Turmoil in Turkey May Damage Defense Relations With U.S.

...However, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman, who has also served in other senior positions in the State and Defense departments, said in a telephone interview that U.S.- Turkish relations may be in for “a bumpy ride.” Edelman is especially concerned about anti-American rhetoric in Turkey alleging that the U.S. had a role in the coup. U.S. Ambassador John Bass on July 18 responded to those allegations. “Some news reports -- and, unfortunately, some public figures -- have speculated that the United States in some way supported the coup attempt,” he said. “This is categorically untrue, and such speculation is harmful to the decades-long friendship between two great nations.”

Like Stavridis, Edelman says that the capabilities of the Turkish military may be harmed by the purge of so many officers, and that Erdogan will seek to weaken the institution because he sees it as a threat. Overall, Edelman would not discount a “significant downside risk” to the future of U.S.-Turkish relations.