Who Is The Man Blamed For Turkey's Coup? - 234today.com Who Is The Man Blamed For Turkey's Coup? - 234today.com
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    Who Is The Man Blamed For Turkey's Coup?

                                                    Fethullah Gulen has been accused of encouraging the coup attempt

    The president points his finger towards Pennsylvania, home of exiled Fetullah Gulen, leader of the powerful Hizmet movement.

    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 Fetullah 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.
    He promotes a philosophy which incorporates a mystical form of Islam with advocacy of democracy, education and science.
    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.
                                         Video: Turkey Coup: How Events Unfolded
    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 Erdogan reacted by purging hundreds of army officers, including senior generals, shutting down schools operated by Hizmet and firing hundreds of police officers.
    He has also targeted newspapers thought to be supportive of his rival, dismissing their editors or closing them down.
    In June, a lawsuit claiming Mr Gulen ordered sympathetic police, prosecutors and judges to target members of a rival movement in Turkey was thrown out by a US judge.
    Lawyer Robert Amsterdam, representing the Turkish government, said: "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."
    Mr Gulen has denied any role in Friday's coup attempt and condemned it "in the strongest terms"
    "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. I categorically deny such accusations," he said in a statement.
    "I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey. 
    "Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force. 
    "I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens, and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly."
    Mr Gulen moved to the United States in 1999 and now lives in a gated home in a small town in the Pocono Mountains. He has been charged with treason in his native country.
    He rarely making public appearances or gives interviews, but is reported to spend hours every day in prayer in meditation.
    On the shelves of Mr Gulen's living quarters are jars filled with soil from different regions of his homeland. 
    The Turkish government has not presented any evidence of links between the group calling itself the Council for Peace in the Homeland, which declared martial law and a curfew.

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