The visit of Vice President Joe Biden to Turkey this week is the first high-level visit of a U.S. official since the attempted coup of July 15, and is seen as a gesture of solidarity to the elected government and statement of support to the U.S.-Turkey alliance. Of course the visit takes place at a moment of high tensions and pressure in the bilateral relationship, as many in Turkey feel frustrated by what they see as hesitation or delay on behalf of the United States to reign in Fethullah Gülen, the individual accused of plotting the July 15 coup.

What is very clear, however, is that the Government of Turkey has clearly made it known to Vice President Biden their concerns over the activities of Gülen, which have resulted in the killings of hundreds of people and continues to threaten the national security of the country. Biden, in response, commented that he understood the concerns of the Turkish people, and said that the July 15th coup attempt was similar in many ways to the catastrophic terror attacks in the United States on 9/11.

An excerpt from coverage of the press conference by Hurriyet:

Saying that Turkey sent a total of 85 files before the coup attempt for the U.S. to extradite Gülen, Erdoğan added that Ankara is now working on new files regarding the failed seizure of power.

“He [Gülen] is continuing his activities. But he could be kept under control and detained, in light of our [1979] deal, which should not be ignored. I believe that the U.S. will take the necessary steps to fulfill our rightful expectation,” he said.

During the same joint press conference, Biden described those involved in the coup attempt as “terrorists” and said the U.S. had more lawyers working on the Gülen extradition request than any other such recent case.

“We will abide by our system. We will continue to abide by the system and, God willing, there will be enough data and evidence to be able to meet the criteria that you all believe exist,” Biden said.

“We have no reason to shelter someone who would attack an ally and try to overthrow a democracy,” he added.

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