Biden arrives in Turkey offering reassurances after coup attempt

August 24, 2016

Vice President Joseph R. Biden arrivedWednesdayin Turkey to smooth over relations amid anti-U.S. sentiment and rubble from last months coup attempt.

Mr. Biden toured the damage at Turkish parliament in Ankara, where he saw broken windows, buckled columns and charred earth from air strikes during the attempted coup.

This is devastating, can you imagine if this happened at home? Mr. Biden said to reporters. Can you imagine what the American public would be saying or doing?”

A senior administration official said Mr. Biden’s trip is intended “to make sure our alliance remains rock and solid and relations get back on track” because the U.S. needs Turkey’s help in fighting the Islamic State and dealing with the civil war in Syria. The aide said the relationship is strained but is “not on the brink of a rupture.”

The Turkish government is pressing the Obama administration to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in in Pennsylvania whom the government blames for fomenting the coup attempt. The U.S. says it is reviewing the request, and the delay is angering some Turks.

Along the route Mr. Biden traveled in the capital city, a demonstrator held up a sign proclaiming in broken English, What if [Osama bin] Ladin be in Turkey and we wouldnt give him you after 9/11?