Washington, Aug 5 (IANS) Exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, while denying his role in the July 15 coup attempt, has dismissed an arrest warrant issued against him by a court in Istanbul.
“It is well-documented that the Turkish court system is without judicial independence, so this warrant is yet another example of (Turkish) President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan’s drive for authoritarianism and away from democracy,” Xinhua news agency quoted Gulen as saying on Thursday.
Gulen’s statement comes after the court issued a warrant against him for allegedly “giving instructions” for the coup.
Erdogan has repeatedly accused Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, of plotting the military coup which left at least 290 persons dead, including more than 100 “plotters”.
The Turkish government has already sent dossiers to the US requesting the extradition of Gulen.
Turkey-US ties were strained by the failed coup amid Ankara’s indication of Washington being involved in the attempt.
The US has denied any role in the coup attempt and repeatedly said that it supported the elected civilian government in Turkey. It vowed to continue cooperation with the Nato ally in areas such as the fight against terrorism.