Perhaps that's why it took the White House more than three hours to say that it stood with the Turkish government and against the coup. No matter who came out on top, the administration would still need to use Incirlik airbase for airstrikes in its phony war against ISIS. After all, what if there were a terror attack against America in Obama's last months inspired by ISIS? As French president Francois Hollande has found, the only immediately available political response to terror at home is dropping more tonnage on Syria and Iraq. To side too early with either Erdogan or the coup might've prejudiced the eventual victor's disposition and eliminated the White House's go-to option in the event of a domestic catastrophe.
So Obama played it cool, but there's still a very big problem. Or let's put it like this: Let's say Erdogan and the AKP are making it up on the fly, as some regional conspiracy theorists seem to believe, and that Ankara is just hanging the coup on Gulen because it's a matter of convenience. Why not stick it to the preacher in the Poconos? Because that means that Erdogan has put the United States and Turkey on a collision course. Maybe Erdogan is so arrogant he intended to forge a rupture with the leader of the free world. But given his problems in the region—a war at home with the PKK, a war in Syria that has flooded Turkey with nearly three million refugees, trouble with Iran and Russia, and barely renewed relations with Israel—it seems unlikely he sought to further isolate Turkey by setting it against NATO's prime force.
If Gulen really is responsible, then the United States is hosting the man who engineered the coup against the government of Turkey and shed blood in the streets of Turkish cities.