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Muslim cleric living in Pa. denies involvement in Turkish coup attempt

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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. (WPVI)

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.

The Imam spoke to reporters Saturday in a compound in Saylorsburg, Monroe County, where he has lived in self-imposed exile for 16 years.
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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.

His denial comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Fethullah Gülen - his once political rival.

More than 150 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded after the military took over state TV and declared martial law.

Witnesses feared for their safety.

"There were shots fired, the crowds got quite large and people were firing into the air to disperse crowds and kind of create panic," said witness Monique Jacques.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon says the Turkish government cut power to the airbase that the U.S. military uses to launch bombing raids on ISIS targets in Syria.

Turkey is a key NATO member and a U.S. ally. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concerned for Americans there.

AP EXPLAINS: The cleric being blamed for Turkey coup attempt

"We are working to determine that all our citizens who are traveling in Turkey are equally well taken care of and protected," said Kerry.

In the end, thousands of military officials were arrested.

Addressing crowds in Instabul, Erdogan promised to clean out the military of supporters of Gulen, and demanded the United States turn him over.

RELATED: Turkey quashes coup

Gulen, meanwhile, insists he doesn't know who's responsible, but admits they could be followers of his writings.

Secretary 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.

Related Topics:
u.s. & worldmilitarypoliticseuropeviolence
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