Ankara, July 16: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quick to blame Fethullah Gulen for the attempted military coup to overthrow the government on Saturday. Gulen, once a close aide of Erdogan, is a US based cleric who has immense support in both the police and the judiciary.
While he was close to the Turkish President, both had a falling out after the latter grew suspicious of him. Ankara has accused Gulen to be an Islamic preacher trying to create a state within a state.
Also read: Live updates on coup attempt in Turkey
Who is Fethullah Gulen?
The 75 year-old Gulen lives at the Pocono mountains in the US state of Pensylvania. While Ankara was quick to accuse him of staging this coup, Gulen's men have rejected these charges while stating that they are opposed to any sort of military intervention.
Once a close aide of Erdogan the two fell out. The reason for the fall out was due to the immense popularity that Gulen was gaining. Moreover Erdogan was also suspicious about his growing clout with the media, the police and the judiciary.
After Gulen had been charged with treason by the government he moved to the US in 1999. While Gulen has remained largely secluded, a major power struggle had erupted in 2013.
A court charged some men part of Erdogan's inner circle. Among those charged for corruption was the President's son, Bilal.
The president then went on to fire several officials and also editors of newspapers who were thought to be close to Gulen.
Reports from Turkey state as part of this face off, there were at least 750 police officials, 80 soldiers and 1,800 people who were detained as they were considered to be close to Gulen.