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 on “the parallel state” and “Pennsylvania”. The US state is home to Fethullah 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.
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.
Lawyer Robert Amsterdam, representing the Turkish government
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. Mr Gulen has denied any role in Friday’s coup attempt and condemned it “in the strongest terms”.
I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens, and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly.