Shot fired at Gulen’s US compound as suspected intruder flees

(FILES) This file photo taken on July 18, 2016 shows Turkish cleric and opponent to the Erdogan regime Fethullah Gulen sitting at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. It's the app Ankara says provided the messaging hub for many of the suspected plotters who took part in last year's failed coup. Turkey says the app was especially created for supporters of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen to create a network for organising his sympathisers across the country. Thousands of people have been arrested simply on charges of downloading it, including a top UN judge and the chairman of Amnesty International in Turkey. An NBA star is also charged with being a user. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas URBAIN

Suspected armed man chased away after trying to enter compound, spokesman for Turkish cleric accused of masterminding failed coup says

Police were called to the Pennsylvania compound of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric accused by Turkey of instigating a failed 2016 coup, after a guard saw a suspected armed intruder and fired a warning shot, a Gulen spokesman has said.

The security guard fired the shot in the air as the person tried to enter the compound’s gates at around 8.30 am (12:30 GMT) and the person fled, Alp Aslandogan, Gulen’s media adviser, said.

“Just one shot was fired,” Aslandogan said. “The person disappeared. The incident is over as far as we’re concerned.”

Gulen was inside his residence on the compound at the time and there are no known injuries or arrests, he said.

“His response was that the authorities should be informed and everybody should cooperate fully with the investigation to find out what happened,” Aslandogan said.

President Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government accuse Gulen of orchestrating an attempted coup in July, 2016, in which soldiers commandeered tanks and fighter jets, bombing parliament.

More than 240 people were killed in the violence surrounding the attempted coup, which Gulen denies organising.

On Wednesday, several Pennsylvania State Police cars were seen around the sprawling gated compound and retreat in Saylorsburg in the Pocono Mountains, according to photographs shared online by local news reporters.

Police, who left the scene a short time later, did not respond to requests for comment, the Reuters news agency reported.

A local television station, WNEP, reported that police were still searching for the suspected intruder.

Gulen’s compound is patrolled by a team of uniformed private security guards, some of them armed with handguns.

A week earlier, a man appeared at the compound’s front gate speaking in Turkish and acting suspiciously as he tried to get access, according to Austin Davis, a guard at the front gate on Wednesday afternoon.

Police were called and took him away.

On Monday, Gulen’s brother Kutbettin Gulen was sentenced to more than 10 years in jail.

A court in the Aegean city of Izmir sentenced Kutbettin, who was first detained in October 2016, to 10 years and six months in jail, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

He had been charged with “membership of an armed terror group”.

Source: Middle East Monitor


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