Who is Fethullah Gulen?

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The attempted coup in Turkey may seem like a world away, but a defiant Turkish president says it's the workings of a man he calls the main terrorist in Pennsylvania.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is talking about Fethullah Gulen - an influential Muslim leader and businessman.

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He lives on a 26-acre retreat center in Saylorsburg, Monroe County, surrounded by followers who are praised by neighbors.

"They are the nicest people. They give us food and they always invite me over for dinner. They gave me work when I didn't have work," said James Connelly, Ross Township resident.



To reporters, Gulen denied involvement in the uprising that aimed to overthrow his fierce political rival.

But opponents outside his compound don't quite believe Gulen.

AP EXPLAINS: The cleric being blamed for Turkey coup attempt


"They actually shoot against Turkish citizens, they shoot against elected government. So we're showing support to our country," an unidentified man told reporters.

The Muslim cleric has long opposed the increasingly authoritarian rule of President Erdogan.



Gulen fled Turkey in 1999 and was accused of trying to overthrow government.

"Erdogan tried him in Absentia, has wanted him extradited to Turkey. The United States has refused to do it," said Ed Turzanski, Foreign Policy Research Institute.

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As Turks took to the streets to celebrate the failed coup, a Muslim cleric in the Poconos says he had nothing to do with it.



Here at home, Gulen has been praised by American leaders for promoting intolerance, interfaith dialogue and education.

In fact, there are more than 1,000 Gulen-inspired charter school across the country to teach sciences - not religion.

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As tanks roll through cities in Turkey, the nation's president is blaming the attempted coup on his once political rival Fethullah G?len, who lives in self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Monroe County.



The only such school in Philadelphia, once housed in a church building in Olney, was shut down last year for poor performance.

Back in Saylorsburg, experts say Gulen's influence spans the globe.

The question remains: Were his teachings the impetus for the uprising?

President Erdogan has demanded the United States turn him over.

Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration would consider Erdogan's extradition request given Turkey could prove Gulen's wrongdoing.

Statement by Alliance for Shared Values on Developments in Turkey:
News media reported about developments in Turkey today regarding actions of
Turkish Armed Forces.
For more than 40 years, Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet participants have advocated
for, and demonstrated their commitment to, peace and democracy. We have
consistently denounced military interventions in domestic politics. These are core
values of Hizmet participants. We condemn any military intervention in domestic
politics of Turkey.

Events on the ground are moving quickly and it would be irresponsible for us to
speculate on them. We remain concerned about the safety and security of Turkish
citizens and those in Turkey right now.

Comments by pro-Erdogan circles about the movement are highly irresponsible.
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