Shot fired at suspected armed intruder at Gulen compound

US police respond to incident at base of cleric accused by Turkey of plotting coup

 An aerial view of the compound in rural Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, US, where Fethullah Gulen is based. File photograph: Staff/Reuters

An aerial view of the compound in rural Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, US, where Fethullah Gulen is based. File photograph: Staff/Reuters

 

Local police were on Wednesday called to the Pennsylvania compound of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Muslim cleric accused by Turkey of instigating a failed 2016 coup, after a guard fired a shot at a suspected armed intruder, a Gulen spokesman said.

The security guard fired a warning shot as the person tried to enter the compound’s gates, and the intruder fled, the spokesman said. There are no known injuries or arrests following the incident, Alp Aslandogan, Mr Gulen’s media adviser, told Reuters.

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

Mr Gulen was inside his residence on the compound at the time.

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

Several Pennsylvania State Police cars were in attendance at the sprawling gated compound and retreat in Saylorsburg in the Pocono Mountains, according to photographs shared online by local news reporters.

Police did not respond to requests for comment. A local television station, WNEP, reported that police were still searching for the suspected intruder.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government accuse Mr Gulen of orchestrating an attempted coup in July 2016, in which rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and fighter jets, bombing parliament. More than 240 people were killed in the violence.

Mr Gulen denies the accusations.

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

Mr Erdogan has repeatedly demanded that the US extradite Mr Gulen to Turkey, straining relations between the two Nato allies. Washington has asked for more compelling evidence of Mr Gulen’s alleged involvement in the attempted coup.

A US evangelical pastor, Andrew Brunson, is being held under house arrest in Turkey after authorities charged him with links to Kurdish militants and Gulen supporters, an accusation he has denied. That case has become a key issue in the worsening diplomatic conflict between the two countries, leading to US sanctions. – Reuters