NEW YORK, August 5. /TASS/. Turkish oppositionist and Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of preparation of the recent failed coup attempt, has denounced the Istanbul court’s decision on his arrest in absentia, calling it another example of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian style. Gulen, who lives in the United States, said this in a statement released on Thursday.
"It is well-documented that the Turkish court system is without judicial independence, so this warrant is yet another example of President (Tayyip) Erdogan's drive for authoritarianism and away from democracy," Gulen, who has denied any involvement in last month's failed coup, said in a statement, Reuters reported.
On Thursday, a court in Istanbul court issued a decision on Gulen’s arrest in absentia on charges of the Turkish coup attempt. The court decision says that Gulen gave orders to make a coup attempt on July 15.
A group of Turkish military staged an overnight coup attempt on July 15-16. The main clashes occurred in Ankara and Istanbul. A total of 246 people apart from the plotters were killed and more than 2,000 others were injured. Ankara says Fethullah Gulen, an Islamist opposition figure permanently resident in the United States, and FETO backers were behind it. FETO is an acronym widely used in Turkey in relation to different groups associated with Gulen. Turkey demands his arrest and extradition from the United States. Gulen has been in voluntary exile in Pennsylvania, USA, since 1999. The trial of Gulen and more than 70 main defendants in the case of the coup attempt is scheduled for late November.