SAYLORSBURG, Pa. U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers Turkey blames for a failed coup, said on Saturday the attempted overthrow may have been staged, and he urged the Turkish people not to view military intervention in a positive light.
"There is a slight chance, there is a possibility that it could be a staged coup," Gulen told reporters through a translator in Pennsylvania, where he resides. "It could be meant for court accusations and associations."
Gulen said democracy cannot be achieved through military action. He criticized the President Tayyip Erdogan's government.
"It appears that they have no tolerance for any movement, any group, any organization that is not under their total control," he said.
(Reporting by Greg Savoy in Pennsylvania, Jeff Mason and Kevin Drawbaugh in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and W Simon)