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Pa.-based cleric condemns Turkish crackdown on supporters

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 16, 2016 3:45 AM
Fethullah Gulen.jpg

Photo by AP Photo/Chris Post, FILE

In this file photo dated Sunday July, 2016, Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen speaks to members of the media at his compound, in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, USA. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Gulen of orchestrating the failed military coup attempt in Turkey, by placing his followers into positions of power decades ago. Gulen denies any involvement.

(Philadelphia) -- A Poconos-based Islamic cleric Turkey accuses of masterminding July's abortive coup is again condemning a Turkish government crackdown on his supporters.

Fethullah Gulen says his "heart is aching" over Turkey's roundup of tens of thousands of his supporters.

He says they're being subjected to "oppression and tyranny."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames Gulen for the failed uprising, which left at least 270 people dead.

Erdogan says he considers Gulen and his followers to be terrorists.

This week, Turkey sent the United States a formal request demanding Gulen's arrest.

Gulen lives on a compound in the Pocono Mountains and denies any involvement. 

He said in videotaped remarks Thursday to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia the Turkish government is using the attempted coup to justify persecuting his followers.

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