Ankara mayor prays hurricanes Harvey and Irma continue

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Ankara's mayor Melih Gökcek (R) stands next to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyiup Erdogan during the inauguration of a subway in Ankara in 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Melih Gökçek shared from his Twitter account on Tuesday the level of economic damage caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma to the US and prayed that such disasters continue so that they do not have time to fight with Turkey.

The US was hit by destructive hurricanes Harvey and Irma in recent weeks.

Accusing the US of causing fighting and enmity among Muslims, Gökçek said: “The cost of hurricanes Harvey and Irma to the US is $290 billion. Let’s continue to pray: ‘God, give those who are fighting with us such troubles so that they forget us’.”

Harvey hit Texas two weeks ago, while Irma struck Florida on Sunday.

Relations between Turkey and the US were strained after arrest warrants were ordered from the US District Court for the Southern District of New York for former Turkish Economy Minister Mehmet Zafer Çağlayan, former general manager of state-run Halkbank Süleyman Aslan, the bank’s assistant deputy manager of international banking Levent Balkan and Abdullah Happani, an employee of Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan described an indictment against Turkey’s former economy minister as politically motivated and tantamount to an attack on Ankara.

US-Turkey ties have also been tense due to Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), despite Ankara’s claims that the YPG is affiliated with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Ankara has also been frustrated by what it sees as Washington’s reluctance to extradite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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