July 30, 2016

Gulen to NRT: I am not hiding and not on the run [VIDEO]

Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, living in self-imposed exile in the United States, denied on Friday (July 30) allegations made by some Turkish and Arab media networks that he had escaped from the U.S.

NRT correspondent Huner Anwer spoke with Gulen in an exclusive interview at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. Gulen told NRT he is not in hiding and made it clear he has not left his highly secured home in the state despite suggestions made by Ankara that he may be on the run.

Gulen, whose extradition the Turkish government is pursuing, denied any connection with the failed coup attempt in Turkey and said his activities are occupied with his daily routine at the “Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center.”

Gulen said through a translator that he has been living in his Pennsylvania residence since 1999 due to his own decision.

The Islamic cleric said he has faith the world will not believe the accusations that he was behind the coup attempt and insists he has always been against military intervention.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government have blamed Gulen for supposedly orchestrating the coup attempt.

Erdogan officially designated Gulen's religious movement a terrorist group in May and said he would pursue its members.

The Turkish Consul-General to Erbil said on Thursday (July 28) the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) should recognize the Hizmet Organization of Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen as a “terrorist organization.”

Mehmet Akif Inam, the Turkish Consul-General, said during a press conference on Thursday that he would direct requests to the KRG in the near future regarding the Hizmet Organization and schools run by the group in the Kurdistan Region.

The KRG Ministry of Education said it would abide by any decision made by the KRG Council of Ministers concerning the closure of the organization’s schools in the Kurdistan Region.

Sherko Hama Amin, a member of the Kurdistan Parliament’s Education Committee, told NRT that schools should not be shut down over political reasons, especially a political issue outside the region.

The Turkish government has previously, even before the July 15 military coup attempt, called on the KRG to close schools connected to the Gulen movement in the region.

Published on NRT English, 30 July 2016, Saturday