The US State Department said last night that the assessments of Turkish officials that the US was involved in the attempted coup in Ankara in 2016 were “wholly false”.

A State Department statement, following accusations by the Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu that the United States was behind the attempted coup in 2016, said: “remarks and other unfounded and irresponsible claims of U.S. responsibility for events in Turkey are inconsistent.”

“These remarks and other unfounded and irresponsible claims of U.S. responsibility for events in Turkey are inconsistent with Turkey’s status as a NATO Ally and strategic partner of the United States,” Washington said in a statement.

Earlier, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu accused the U.S. of being behind the failed 2016 coup, which Ankara blamed on the U.S.-based imam Fethullah Gulen. He told the Turkish daily Hurriyet that the United States had managed the coup attempt while Fethullah Gulen’s network was carrying it out, adding that “Europe was delighted with the occasion” and confirming a position that “repeats the coup”.

“It is very clear that the United States is behind July 15,” Süleyman Soylu was quoted as saying by Reuters.

U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment, but Washington had previously denied any involvement.

The United States has repeatedly rejected Turkey’s demands for Gulen’s extradition, citing a lack of credible evidence from Ankara.

More than 250 people were killed in an attempt to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government on July 15, 2016.

Ankara has long accused Fetullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally living in Pennsylvania, and his movement.

Fethullah Gulen denies any involvement.

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