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Gülen: Erdoğan could have staged coup

Gülen: Erdoğan could have staged coup

Amana Fontanella-Khan | The Guardian

“I don’t believe that the world believes the accusations made by President Erdoğan,” Gülen said. “There is a possibility that it could be a staged coup and it could be meant for further accusations [against the Gulenists],” he said, a small prayer room, lined with woven rugs, decorated with Islamic calligraphy and leather bound religious books.

Gülen said he rejects all military interventions, and said he has personally suffered every time a coup has happened in Turkey in recent years. “Now that Turkey is on the path to democracy, it cannot turn back,” he said.

The last time the reclusive leader of the Gülen movement spoke live to international press was in 2014. Gülen rarely leaves the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center complex, where his movement offers religious instruction. The exiled imam is in fragile health. Before the interview he was attended to by a stethoscope-carrying physician who measured his blood pressure.

The sprawling compound is guarded by around the clock security. Following the news of the coup, Alp Aslandogan, the executive director of Alliance for Shared Values, and the media advisor to Gülen, said that security is on “high alert” following threats of violence on social media.

While Erdoğan is attempting to extradite Gülen for charges related to the coup Aslandogan said: “The US government position has always been that if there is any evidence of Mr Gulen breaking the laws, they will look into it.

“So far, the Turkish government hasn’t produced anything. Thank God, this is a country of laws, and we depend on that.”

Elaborating on the idea that Erdoğan may have staged a coup, Aslandogan noted Friday’s events did not match the pattern previous coups have followed: “The coup appears to be poorly planned, very poorly executed and everything seems to be paying into Erdogan’s hands.”

“There are many big question marks of how [this attempted coup] was executed,” he added.

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