Kerry tells Turkey counterpart claims U.S. was involved in coup are false, harmful

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan light up a flare during a pro-government demonstration on Taksim square in Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry told Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavosoglu on Saturday that public claims suggesting the United States was involved in the failed coup in Turkey were harmful to relations between the two NATO allies.

Kerry pressed Turkey to use restraint and respect the rule of law during its investigation into the plot, State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

“He made clear that the United States would be willing to provide assistance to Turkish authorities conducting this investigation, but that 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,” Kirby said.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom, writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama