Date posted: July 17, 2016
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.
In a rare interview from his residence in rural Pennsylvania with the Financial Times and a small group of other reporters, a frail Mr Gulen said claims by Mr Erdogan that he had masterminded the uprising were absolutely groundless.
“I don’t believe that the world takes the accusations made by president Erdogan [against me] seriously,” the moderate Islamic preacher said from a room inside his home at the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center, nestled in the rolling hills of the Pocono Mountains.
“There is a possibility that it could be a staged coup [by Mr Erdogan’s AKP] and it could be meant for further accusations” against Gulenists and the military, he said.
Mr Gulen said that he was not worried about being deported from America despite Turkey putting further pressure on the US government to extradite him in the aftermath of Friday’s coup attempt. He said Mr Erdogan’s calls for his extradition were just his latest bluff, as he compared the Turkish president’s political tactics to those of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis in 1940s Germany.
“It is very clear that there is intolerance among the leadership of the ruling party and the president,” Mr Gulen said, speaking in Turkish and communicating with reporters through a translator.
“They have confiscated properties and media organisations, broken doors and harassed people in a fashion similar to Hitler’s SS forces,” Mr Gulen said, as he described how his followers in Turkey had been mistreated over recent years by Mr Erdogan’s party.
Source: Financial Times , July 16, 2016