ANKARA – A US bases organisation close to Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen has denied involvement in the attempted coup against President Erdogan here on Saturday.
“We condemn any military intervention in domestic politics of Turkey,” the Alliance for Shared Values group said in a statement.
“Comments by pro-Erdogan circles about the movement are highly irresponsible,” it said.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said in a television interview that members of the movement loyal to Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, were involved in the attempted military takeover.
WHO IS MUHAMMAD FETHULLAH GULEN
Muhammed Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish preacher, former imam, writer and political figure. He is the founder of the Gülen movement (known as Hizmet meaning service in Turkish). Currently, living the self-imposed exile in the United States, residing in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.
Gülen teaches a Hanafi version of Islam, deriving from Sunni Muslim scholar Said Nursî’s teachings. Gülen believes in science, interfaith dialogue among the People of the Book, and multi-party democracy. He has initiated such dialogue with the Vatican and some Jewish organisations.
Fethullah is actively involved in the societal debate concerning the future of the Turkish state, and Islam in the modern world. He has been described in the English-language media as an imam “who promotes a tolerant Islam which emphasises altruism, hard work and education” and as “one of the world’s most important Muslim figures.”
Gülen was an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan before 2013. The alliance was destroyed after alleged 2013 corruption investigations in Turkey.
Erdogan accused Gülen being behind the corruption investigations. He is currently on Turkey’s most-wanted terrorist list and is accused of leading what the current Turkish officials call the Gulenist Terror Organisation (FETO).
A Turkish criminal court issued an arrest warrant for Gülen and Government is demanding the extradition of Gülen from the United States. However, so far there is no Turkish court decision that charges Gülen or his followers with any terrorist activity.