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Islamic scholar Gülen dismisses accusations of a second coup

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US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has dismissed media talk about a second coup attempt and allegations of the involvement of his followers in a new effort, saying he is committed to democracy and the rule of law even at a time when Gülen sympathizers are being persecuted by the government.

The scholar released a new statement on Monday and dismissed allegations leveled by pro-government journalists that the Gülen movement would make one more attempt to topple the government.

On Saturday Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar said he sees another coup attempt as highly unlikely in response to retired Col. Hasan Atilla Uğur, who told media that there would be another attempt in November, this time bloodier than the first one on July 15.

The pro-government media last week raised the issue and turned attention again on the movement.

The scholar denies any plan or effort on the part of the movement and dismisses the allegations as a smear campaign.

He noted that the government wrongly accused the movement from the very first moments of the attempted coup on July 15 with absolutely no evidence.

Since July 15 the government has unleashed an unrelenting and unabated crackdown on Gülen sympathizers. More than 100,000 public officials have been dismissed over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

“As a victim of previous coups, I believe that democracy cannot be achieved through or protected by military coups. As I said before, I will never accept the toppling of those who persecute me and movement members in anti-democratic ways by ignoring the principles of universal law,” the scholar said.

Gülen in the strongest terms condemned the putsch on July 15 in its first hours and rejects any link to the coup.

He also expressed concerns about talk in pro-government social media about mass executions and killings in prisons of Gülen sympathizers if another coup attempt is made.

Despite the torture and discrimination they face, he said of movement sympathizers, they will remain committed to democracy and the rule of law.

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