Pennsylvania State Police surrounded the property owned by exiled Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen on Wednesday because an “armed intruder” was reportedly spotted on the grounds and fired upon by a security guard.
No one appears to have been harmed in the incident, and the identity of the intruder remains unknown. According to a Gulen spokesman, the intruder was attempting to enter the compound’s gates when the guard fired a single warning shot.
“The person disappeared. The incident is over as far as we’re concerned,” the spokesman said.
Gulen infrequently leaves the compound and is said to have been in his residence at the time of the incident. He has lived in the Poconos for the past two decades since a falling-out with his onetime ally Recep Tayyip Erdogan, currently the president of Turkey.
Depending on who one asks, the reclusive cleric manages a religious organization, a large network of schools, and/or a sinister global conspiracy from his compound. The Turkish government blames him for masterminding the failed 2016 coup against Erdogan and has demanded his extradition from the United States ever since. Both the Obama and Trump administrations refused to extradite him. Erdogan has indicated a willingness to trade captive American pastor Andrew Brunson for Gulen.
Turkish parliamentary speaker Binali Yildirim assailed the United States for refusing to hand Gulen over on Wednesday morning.
“Everything is clear. He is the one who ordered the coup. We have every kind of document and information but our friends, the country which we know as an ally, stands by idly,” Yildirim said at the TRT World Forum in Istanbul.
“It is well-known that the Turkish government under Recep Tayyip Erdogan has devised kidnapping plots against Mr. Gulen, as well as executed successful kidnappings of his supporters around the world,” officials from Gulen’s Alliance for Shared Values non-profit organization said on Wednesday.
Gulen’s brother Kutbettin was sentenced to ten years in prison on Monday for “membership in an armed terrorist group.”