By Alp Ozden, Mumin Altas
Cooperation between Turkey and the Council of Europe is more important than ever in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt, Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman said Wednesday.
“In a such difficult situation for our country, the solidarity adopted by our allies is more important than ever,” Kahraman told reporters prior to a meeting with the secretary general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, in capital Ankara.
Kahraman said that the failed coup bid “was not a regular coup attempt, but an incident with far more depth.”
“Within this framework, the Turkish parliament places great importance on cooperation with all institutions of the Council of Europe, notably the Parliamentary Assembly,” he said.
Jagland said the purpose of his visit to Ankara was to specifically show the Council of Europe’s support for Turkish democratic institutions.
“It was very impressive to witness how the Turkish parliament and political parties stood united against this coup attempt,” he said, adding that he was among the first to condemn the failed bid.
“[Because] I believe that a government cannot be taken over by military means. It must only be done through votes and elections,” he added.
Jagland also met with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, prime ministry sources said.
Yildirim expressed his appreciation for Jagland’s visit to condemn the coup attempt and show solidarity with Turkey, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Jagland later met with Interior Minister Efkan Ala.
Turkey’s government has repeatedly said the coup attempt, which left 238 martyrs in its wake and 2,200 others injured, was organized by the followers of U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen.
Gulen is also accused of implementing a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.
*Emin Avundukluoglu contributed to this report.