Why Is A Cleric In The Poconos Accused Of Fomenting Turkey’s Coup Attempt?

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. (Photo: Today's Zaman, Selahattin Sevi)
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. (Photo: Today's Zaman, Selahattin Sevi)


Date posted: July 16, 2016

As Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began re-establishing control Saturday, he immediately pointed the finger of blame for the failed coup attempt against him.

So who does he consider most responsible? A rogue general?

Nope. Erdogan directed his outrage at an elderly, reclusive Muslim cleric living in Pennsylvania’s Pocanos: Fethullah Gulen.

“I have a message for Pennsylvania: You have engaged in enough treason against this nation. If you dare, come back to your country,” Erdogan said Saturday in reference to Gulen, not the entire Keystone State.

Erdogan and Gulen used to be buddies. Both were considered moderate Islamists. Gulen encouraged his many followers to support Erdogan, who in turn helped raise the profile of Gulen, who runs a vast network of Islamic schools worldwide, including more than 100 charter schools in the United States.

Both men benefited from the relationship. But they had a falling out in 2013 over a corruption investigation that targeted Erdogan and some of his closest allies. Erdogan apparently believed Gulen’s allies in the judiciary were responsible for the inquiry, and responded by dismissing many in the judicial system considered close to Gulen, a powerful political force in his own right.

Gulen, who’s in his mid-70s, denounced the coup attempt and said he had no role in it.

“As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt,” Gulen said in a statement. “I categorically deny such accusations.”

A Worldwide Following

He has many Sunni Muslim followers, estimated at anywhere from 1 million to 8 million worldwide, and his religious views are generally considered mainstream, though some in secular Turkey are suspicious of him.

Since 1999, Gulen has lived at the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center, a compound in Saylorsburg, Pa., which serves as the headquarters for his Alliance of Shared Values.

He rarely gives interviews, but spoke to The Atlantic in 2013. He was asked why he remained in Pennsylvania rather than return to Turkey, and gave this intriguing response:

“I am concerned that certain circles are waiting for an opportunity to reverse the democratic reforms that were started in the early 1990s and accelerated in the last decade. I am concerned that these elements will try to take advantage of my return by putting the government in a difficult position. … Additionally, while in Turkey, I would seek corrections and possible legal actions against libel and slander. Here, I am away from such harassment, and I am less affected by them. I find this place more tranquil.”

Gulen was already facing legal problems in his homeland before Friday’s attempted coup.

An Istanbul court last October issued an arrest warrant for him following an indictment that charged him with “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey or obstructing it from conducting its duties by force,” according to the Anadolu, the Turkish news agency.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday the U.S. would consider an extradition request for Gulen, but stressed that Turkey would have to present evidence of wrongdoing on his part, the Associated Press reported.

Kerry, who was in Luxembourg, noted that Turkey hasn’t made such a request, though he anticipated that Turkey would raise the issue.

Source: NPR , July 16, 2016


Related News

Gulen turns coup accusations on Erdogan

Fethullah Gulen, the man blamed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of orchestrating the attempted military coup that rocked Turkey, has tried to turn the accusation against his political rival by suggesting that Mr Erdogan’s ruling AKP party had staged the uprising.

Where is Turkey going? (2)

Gülen movement supports a critical approach as a fundamental aspect of knowledge and faith. Furthermore, it considers science and mathematics to be especially necessary to a devout Muslim fulfilling his religious and civil duties and to improve the economic situation of his family and community.

How It Feels to Be a Dissident in Turkey After the Failed Military Coup

LOUISE CALLAGHAN To plan a speedy political exile from Turkey today, you need two things: a world map and the Wikipedia page on “visa entry requirements for Turkish citizens.” If you get out a highlighter and start cross-referencing the two, you’ll quickly see the bottom half of the map is more accessible than the top. […]

Turkey crackdown: deep unease in Fethullah Gulen’s home village

“They were a family of thinkers,” said a dairy farmer in the village who asked not to be named as he feared repercussions from the authorities. “They were good people. They came from nowhere, they had no water, nothing,” he says, pointing out the Gulen family’s former home, made from clay and rocks.

Destici: No one should attempt to change law to save themselves

Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Mustafa Destici, speaking about an ongoing corruption operation and the government’s response to it, said on Sunday that everyone has a responsibility to respect the laws in the country and that efforts to change the laws to protect a certain group of people from accusations are unacceptable.

‘Ekol Hoca’ center of attention on Periscope with his ’online prep school’

A Turkish teacher known as “Ekol Hoca” who has been providing online lessons to students, especially those preparing for nationwide exams amid government’s efforts to shut down prep schools, via live video streaming application Periscope has attracted attention after the CEO of Periscope expressed his gratitude to the teacher.

Latest News

This notable Pocono resident has been living here in exile since 1999

Logistics companies seized over Gülen links sold in fast-track auction

That is Why the Turkish Government could Pay 1 Billion Euros

ECtHR rules Bulgaria violated rights of Turkish journalist who was deported despite seeking asylum

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences in the Wake of the Western European Floods

Pregnant woman kept in prison for 4 months over Gülen links despite regulations

Normalization of Abduction, Torture, and Death in Erdogan’s Turkey

Turkey’s Maarif Foundation illegally seized German-run school in Ethiopia, says manager

Failed 2016 coup was gov’t plot to purge Gülenists from state bodies, journalist claims

In Case You Missed It

Uplifting Romanian children in need

French editor says Gülen’s messages on anti-terrorism revolutionary

Germany’s dialogue awards find their recipients

Fethullah Gülen: An Islamic sign of hope for an inclusive Europe

Number of Kimse Yok Mu volunteers triple

Immanuel Wallerstein and the Hizmet Movement

Clash of the Anatolian Tigers

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News