Fethullah Gulen, the 75-year old Turkish imam living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, threw an accusation back at President Tayyip Erdogan after Turkey’s president squarely blamed him for Friday’s military coup attempt.
“There is a slight chance, there is a possibility that it could be a staged coup,” Gulen toldreporters, speaking through a translator at his Pennsylvania compound. “It could be meant for court accusations and associations.”
Referring to Erdogan’s regime, Gulen said “It appears that they have no tolerance for any movement, any group, any organization that is not under their total control.”
Still, Gulen condemned the coup plot and said democracy in Turkey could not be achieved using military action.
Erdogan blamed Gulen for involvement in the coup attempt and called on the Obama administration to extradite the cleric.
“Today, after this coup attempt, I’m once again calling on you, I’m saying: Extradite this man in Pennsylvania to Turkey now,” Erdogan said in televised remarks appealing directly to Obama.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday the Obama administration would investigation any accusations against Gulen if they are presented by Turkey along with an extradition request.