Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and anti-government Turkish preacher and politician Fethullah Gulen exchanged accusations of responsibility for the failed coup attempt.
In an interview on Saturday at his home in Pennsylvania, Gulen denied claims of being in charge of the coup attempt. Instead, he said there is a possibility that this coup was staged by the government and president Erdoğan himself.
“I do not think that the world believes the accusations made by president Erdoğan,” Gulen told a group of journalists. “There is a possibility that it could have been a staged coup, and it could have been done in order to further accuse Gulen and his followers,” he added.
Gulen further highlighted his opposing stance towards military coups, referring to past coups during which he had been imprisoned and persecuted.
Ambiguity surrounds the future of Turkey’s security and economy, with thousands of judges expelled from their jobs and others rounded up on suspicion of taking part or supporting the coup attempt. This was widely considered an unprecedented move in the name of filtering coup supporters and preserving democracy.
Omer Faruk, Turkish political analyst, told Daily News Egypt that political disputes are already ongoing in Turkey. “I cannot say that this coup attempt will make things any worse,” he said. On the humanitarian level, he asserted that officers who tried to take down the government will face serious charges.
According to Faruk, Gulen supporters have been putting the army in critical positions for decades. Turkey actually wants him extradited from the US.
Speaking in public in Istanbul on Saturday, Erdoğan called on US president Barack Obama to arrest Gulen and deport him to Turkey. But US Secretary of State John Kerry said that no official requests were made by the Turkish government so far.
More than 6,000 people were arrested, many of them soldiers and judges, and at least 250 killed during a coup attempt on Friday that failed overnight in Turkey.