Crowds rejoice; Failed coup strengthens Turkey’s president
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Rather than toppling Turkey’s strongman president, a failed military coup that left more than 250 dead appears to have bolstered Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s immediate grip on power and boosted his popularity.
Tens of thousands marched through the streets in half a dozen Turkish cities late Saturday, waving flags and singing songs in an emotional outpouring of support for the long-time leader as security forces rounded up military personnel it branded coup supporters and launched a purge of judges seen as government opponents.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the perpetrators of Friday’s failed coup “will receive every punishment they deserve,” and the government said it would take steps toward extraditing a U.S.-based cleric it accused of fomenting the uprising.
The government threat of further crackdowns raised concerns over the future of democracy in Turkey, which has long prided itself in its democratic and secular traditions despite being in a tumultuous region swept by conflict and extremism.
The coup attempt began late Friday with tanks rolling into the streets of the capital, Ankara, and Istanbul as Erdogan was enjoying a seaside vacation. Explosions and gunfire erupted throughout the night.
US-Turkish tensions rise after failed coup attempt
LUXEMBOURG (AP) — U.S.-Turkish tensions escalated Saturday after a quashed coup in Turkey, as the country’s leader bluntly demanded the extradition of a U.S.-based cleric he accused of orchestrating the violence. Another senior official directly blamed the United States.
After strongly supporting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when it seemed his government might topple and then opening the door to sending home the cleric, a stung Obama administration fired back at its NATO ally.
“Public insinuations or claims about any role by the United States in the failed coup attempt are utterly false and harmful to our bilateral relations,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told his Turkish counterpart, according to the State Department’s readout of their telephone call.
The back-and-forth occurred against the backdrop of Turkey closing its airspace, effectively grounding U.S. warplanes that had been targeting Islamic State forces in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
At the center of the controversy stood Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania and promotes a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.
Questions now swirl about Turkey, key Western ally
Turkey’s pivotal roles as an ally in the U.S.-led war against the Islamic State group and a guarantor of refugee agreements are likely to remain intact for now after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged triumphant followingr a failed coup attempt.
However, looming tension over Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Islamic cleric blamed by Erdogan for the rebellion, could strain ties between Turkey and the United States, which says it would assess any Turkish extradition request. Gulen denies involvement in the unrest.
An expected purge of military factions responsible for the attempted putsch, however, could leave the armed forces in turmoil and overstretched. While trying to rebuild with loyalists, the military must continue to confront autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels in Turkey and control its turbulent border with war-torn Syria.
Turkey is a strategic US ally at the crossroads of the Asian and European continents and abuts Mideast conflict zones. It is a majority-Muslim country in NATO and a key partner in efforts to solve international challenges, including terrorism and mass migration, as well as being an important interlocutor with regional powers such as Iran and Russia.
U.S., European and other world leaders have condemned the assault on Erdogan’s democratically elected government, while watching for further fallout from the uprising on Turkey, which was seen as a generally stable partner in a neighborhood plagued by upheaval.
Trump presents ‘partner’ Pence, but no doubt who’s the star
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump presented running mate Mike Pence to the nation Saturday, hailing the Indiana governor as his “first choice” and “my partner in the campaign.” But he left no doubt in a sometimes awkward event that Pence’s role will surely be as sidekick to the businessman-turned-reality-star-turned-politician at the top of the ticket.
Glancing at notes, Trump lauded Pence’s personal character and conservative credentials. Then he moved on to draw sharp contrasts between the newly formed Republican team and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Yet the announcement lacked much of the stagecraft typically associated with the public unveiling of a running mate, one of the most significant moments under a presidential campaign’s control.
The only sign onstage in the Manhattan hotel ballroom bore only Trump’s name. The two men appeared together just briefly. And Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, spoke for nearly 30 minutes before calling Pence to the stage.
His far-ranging remarks devoted more time to recapping his primary victories — and he even found time to tout his new hotel in Washington — than introducing the relatively unknown Pence to America’s voters.
Analysis: What does the VP rollout tell us about Trump?
WASHINGTON (AP) — In business and politics, Donald Trump likes to go with his gut. His selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as a running mate appears to be a lesson in what happens when he doesn’t.
Trump introduced Pence as his No. 2 on Saturday, passing over candidates with whom he has a more personal connection in favor of an experienced politician with solid conservative credentials. GOP leaders — many lukewarm at best about the outsider at the top of their ticket — were nearly unanimous in praise.
Yet getting to that moment of party unity was chaotic, with many of the twists and turns playing out in public — and not in a way the spotlight-seeking Trump prefers.
On its own, the muddled lead-up to Saturday’s announcement is unlikely to impact Trump’s standing in his general election fight with Democrat Hillary Clinton. But it provides some of the clearest indications yet of how he might handle high-pressure decisions as president, where few choices are easy and his personal preferences are just one of many factors to consider.
“It does cause one to question how and what kind of process he would use if he were actually president and had to make some of the decisions,” said Lanhee Chen, the policy director to Republican Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Still, he said it was instructive that Trump “can be influenced against what his instincts tell him.”
8 years after hope and change, voters are angry, anxious
ARVADA, Colorado (AP) — Eight years ago, Barbara Conley was one of the millions of Americans swept up in Barack Obama’s promises of hope and change when he accepted the Democratic nomination at a packed football stadium a few miles from her home in the Denver suburbs.
But those optimistic days are almost unrecognizable to Conley now.
With Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton preparing for their own nominating conventions, the 68-year-old independent is filled with so much frustration at the candidates and the political system that propelled them to victory that she can’t even imagine voting in November.
“I’m so mad about both of the candidates,” said Conley, who finds Clinton too dishonest and Trump too unproven to be president. She paused while loading groceries into her car and declared, “It’s depressing.”
Less than four months before Election Day, that same sense of anger and anxiety runs deep with voters across the country. Trump and Clinton will each try to paint a rosy picture of life under their leadership during their back-to-back conventions, but it seems unlikely either can quickly shake Americans out of their bad mood.
France calls up reserves to boost security after Nice attack
NICE, France (AP) — Seeking to quell fear and criticism, the French government called up thousands of police reserves Saturday to increase security around the country, after the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a beachfront Bastille Day attack that security forces failed to thwart.
From the Nice seashore to the seat of French politics in Paris, critics lashed out Saturday at President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government, asking how a country still under a state of emergency after previous carnage from Islamic extremist attacks could have let this happen again.
As Nice’s coastal promenade along the Mediterranean Sea reopened, tourists and residents paid tribute to the 84 people killed and the 200 wounded in Thursday night’s attack, their blood still jarringly visible on the pavement. The solemnity was only punctured when a pair of plainclothes police officers tried to drive through the crowd, prompting angry shouts of “Shame!” The officers backed away after a brief standoff.
Hollande held an emergency security meeting Saturday, and late in the day Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced he would call up 12,000 police reserves in addition to more than 120,000 police and soldiers already deployed around the country “because of the terrorist threat.”
Cazeneuve tried to defend his police force’s record, but his words rang hollow. He made similar statements after attacks in January 2015 at a kosher supermarket in Paris and the Charlie Hebdo newspaper that killed 17, and again after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris on a rock concert, the national stadium and cafes that killed 130.
Paradise Lost: Attack dims sunny Nice’s sparkle
NICE, France (AP) — An eerie feeling hung over Nice’s blood-stained Promenade des Anglais as shops and restaurants opened for business Saturday, with small vigils and flowers peppering the walkway outside.
A jewel in the French Riviera, Nice’s sunny Mediterranean shoreline, artistic heritage and ubiquitous open-air terraces attract some 4 million tourists a year.
And it was precisely this international culture that was hit on Thursday’s Bastille Day in a bloody truck rampage killing at least 84 people that threatened to dim the ancient city’s sparkle.
“The economy on the Cote d’Azur is going to suffer, and we’re just at the beginning of the season,” said Chechen nightclub bouncer Roustam Khaitaev, whose daughter Sabrina was among those injured in the attack. “There’ll be no one else for the rest of the season. Bars, restaurants, they’ll all suffer. I’m grieving, even if my daughter survived.”
Restaurants were largely empty as the sun set, yet on the promenade a few yards (meters) away thousands of local residents and tourists enjoying the evening air painted a seemingly familiar picture.
After 2 years, probe of Eric Garner chokehold death in limbo
NEW YORK (AP) — Two years after the chokehold death of Eric Garner made “I can’t breathe” a rallying cry for protests over police killings of black men, federal authorities are still grappling with whether to prosecute the white officer seen on a widely watched video wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck.
The legal limbo is playing out on the watch of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who has come under persistent pressure in the city and elsewhere to bring Officer Daniel Pantaleo to justice. The New York City case turned out to be a forerunner to a series of videotaped police killings across the country that have fueled outrage and protests.
Before becoming attorney general, Lynch ran the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn, which initiated the review of Garner’s case after a state grand jury refused to indict Pantaleo in 2014, and she personally met with Garner’s family in that role. Questioned by Congress this week, she said the Garner investigation remains open but gave no indication of how or when a decision will be made.
Last year, the city agreed to pay $5.9 million to settle the family’s wrongful death claim, but the push for a federal case has persisted. Garner’s siblings performed on a rap song called “I Can’t Breathe” that was released to mark the second anniversary of his July 17, 2014, death, and his mother, Gwen Carr, has proposed converting a small park across the street from where he died into a playground named after him.
“What’s in my heart is to keep my son’s name alive,” Carr said. “This is my work for the rest of my life.”
British Open showdown: Stenson leads Mickelson by a shot
TROON, Scotland (AP) — Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson delivered what everyone expects out of a major championship.
They matched birdies and improbable par saves. Momentum could change with any shot. The lead changed four times over four hours of golf at its highest level, played in the cold wind and occasional rain off the Irish Sea. All the British Open lacked Saturday was a winner.
Turns out this was only the preview to a duel at Royal Troon.
Stenson took the lead for the last time with another two-shot swing on an inward par 3, and he kept it with a nifty up-and-down on the 18th for par and a 3-under 68, the second straight day that no one had a better score.
That gave the 40-year-old Swede his first lead in a major, even if it was just one shot over someone who already has five majors and his name on the claret jug.