Turkey issues warrant for US-based preacher Fethullah Gülen in failed coup

Turkey has issued a formal arrest warrant for US-based preacher Fethullah Gülen, accusing him of orchestrating the failed 15 July coup attempt aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, state-run media reported.

An Istanbul court issued the warrant, the first after the failed putsch for the reclusive cleric in Pennsylvania, the Anadolu news agency said.

In the warrant, Gülen stands accused of “ordering the July 15 coup”, Anadolu reported.

Gülen, who has lived in the US since 1999, strongly denies any involvement and the movement he leads insists it is a charitable network promoting tolerant Islam.

Turkey previously issued an arrest warrant for Gülen in December 2014 on charges of setting up and directing an “armed terrorist organisation” as well as using intimidation to deprive a person of their freedom.

Ankara has frequently called on the United States to extradite Gülen, sending two sets of documents to Washington since the coup as evidence of his involvement in the putsch attempt.

Turkey has yet to make a formal extradition request to the US for Gülen.

A rogue faction within the military tried to wrest control of the country on 15 July, launching attacks on parliament and the president’s palace.

At least 238 people were killed and nearly 2,200 injured after people took to the streets and squares against the putschists. Since then thousands have been purged from their roles in the judiciary, police, military and education system, accused of being members of the coup movement while more than 18,000 people have been detained.