The Turkish Rear Admiral who has applied for asylum in the USA has been identified by Anadolu News Agency as Mustafa Urgulu. He is stationed at the NATO Allied Command Transformation headquarters in Virginia, US.
Turkey launched the arrest warrant against the officer for military espionage following the July 15 coup d’état.
A diplomat positioned at the Turkish embassy in the US said Urgulu, who disappeared on July 22, “left his badges and his ID at the NATO base and after that no one has heard anything from him.”
Turkey is already pushing for the extradition of Fetullah Gulen from the USA and the addition of the Rear Admiral to the equation could further affect the two countries’ ties.
Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday said that Ankara “wanted to cooperate with NATO members up to this point,” but, he added, “the results we got did not satisfy us. Therefore, it is natural to look for other options.”
The Foreign Minister, who mentioned his country’s plans to establish a joint military, intelligence and diplomacy mechanism with Russia, was however quick to underline that Turkey does not see these plans “as a move against NATO.”
NATO and Russia have been at odds over the years as Moscow alleges that the installation of NATO’s arsenals in neighboring countries poses a threat to its security.
Cavusoglu said their revival of ties with Moscow “is not a message to the West” before stressing that “if the West one day loses Turkey- whatever our relations with Russia and China- it will be the West’s fault.”