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Meet Fetullah Gulen, the Man Blamed For Turkey’s Failed Coup

Turkey’s president has accused a US-based Muslim preacher of being behind the attempted military coup against his government.

In a televised address as tanks were parked on bridges in Istanbul and military helicopters flew over the city, Recep Tayyip Erdogan pinned the blame “the parallel state” and “Pennsylvania”.

The US state is home to Fetullah Gulen, once a close ally of Mr Erdogan, but now living in exile.

The 75-year-old is the leader of the Hizmet (Service) movement, which has a powerful presence in areas of Turkish society, including the military, police and media.

He promotes a philosophy which incorporates a mystical form of Islam with advocacy of democracy, education and science.

The New York-based group which promotes his ideas, The Alliance For Shared Value, has started more than 1,000 schools across the world, including 150 in the US.

Mr Erdogan has repeatedly accused Mr Gulen of trying to overthrow his government and attempting to set up a “state within a state” with Hizmet.

In 2013 judicial officials thought to be close to Gulen brought corruption charges that directly implicated some of Erdogan’s inner circle, including his son Bilal.

The Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center, where Fethullah Gulen lives

The Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center, where Fethullah Gulen lives

Mr Erdogan reacted by purging hundreds of army officers, including senior generals, shutting down schools operated by Hizmet and firing hundreds of police officers.

He has also targeted newspapers thought to be supportive of his rival, dismissing their editors or closing them down.

In June, a lawsuit claiming Mr Gulen ordered sympathetic police, prosecutors and judges to target members of a rival movement in Turkey was thrown out by a US judge.

Lawyer Robert Amsterdam, representing the Turkish government, said: “Despite the outcome of this ruling, a very clear message has been sent to Gulen and his co-conspirators in the Poconos: the days of impunity are numbered, and your unlawful conduct will be brought to light.”

Mr Gulen has denied any role in Friday’s coup attempt and condemned it “in the strongest terms”.


Via Sky News



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