Police respond to incident at cleric Fethullah Gulen′s US compound | News | DW | 03.10.2018
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Police respond to incident at cleric Fethullah Gulen's US compound

A spokesman for Fethullah Gulen has said a guard at the cleric's Pennsylvania compound fired a warning shot at an armed intruder, who then fled. Gulen is accused by Turkey of orchestrating the failed 2016 military coup.

Pennsylvania State Police were summoned on Wednesday to the rural compound of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

A spokesman for Gulen said a compound security guard fired a warning shot at an armed intruder, who subsequently fled the vicinity. There were no known injuries or arrests.

Photographs shared online showed several police cars parked around the gated retreat in Saylorsburg, located in the Pocono Mountains.

According to local broadcaster BRC News 13, police told residents to remain indoors as they were searching for the armed suspect in the area. However, authorities were seen driving away from the compound around an hour or two later. 

Gulen's media adviser, Alp Aslandogan, said Gulen was inside his Pennsylvania home when the incident took place.

"Just one shot was fired," Aslandogan said. "The person disappeared. The incident is over as far as we're concerned."

The cleric urged his aides to "cooperate fully with the investigation to find out what happened," he said.

Erdogan's enemy

Gulen is accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of orchestrating the failed 2016 military coup against his government, in which rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and jets to attack the Turkish parliament building. Over 240 people died in the attempted putsch.

Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan who later fell out with the prime-minister-turned-president, has denied the allegations. He is in self-imposed exile in the US, but would be extremely likely to face immediate prosecution if he tried to return to Turkey.

The cleric's supporters have accused Ankara of trying to kidnap Gulen, charges the Turkish authorities have denied.

Since the coup attempt, the Turkish government has purged the country's military and civil service of tens of thousands suspected members of the Gulen movement. It is also trying to secure Gulen's extradition from the US. On Wednesday, parliamentary speaker Binali Yildirim criticized Washington for failing to assist in the process, according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet . 

"Why don't you even start an investigation?" Yildirim asked US officials rhetorically in a speech at the TRT World Forum hosted by the Turkish state media channel. "Are you worried other things will come out? Turkey has presented several documents in front of them, but they have done nothing."

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dm/msh (Reuters, dpa)

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