>> Nearly a year after the bloody failed coup against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, the man Erdogan blames for the ill-fated attempt, Fethullah Gulen says he would accept extradition to Turkey if the Trump administration agrees to turn him over. The US based cleric telling Reuters in an exclusive interview, he staunchly denies any role in the military plot.
>> I have never supported a coup or an ouster.>> But on the question of whether Gulen might someday be turned over to Erdogan by the US government, Gulen's saying he would quote, respect their decision. I would go without any bad feelings. The leader of a popular Turkish movement called Hizmet, Gulen thinks Erdogan is seeking dictatorial powers over Turkey.
But can only be replaced by non-violent means, such as the massive march staged by an opposition party last weekend.>> A strong opposition voice is growing, not a brute force revolt but at least revolution through democratic means.>> Interviewed at his compound in rural Pennsylvania, Gulen called on Europe and the Trump administration to push Erdogan harder to restore political freedoms.
> If he hears a strong voice from the United States, from the EU, from the European Parliament, that what you're doing is wrong, then he might indeed go back to some of the Democratic means.>> Gulen has been a thorn in Erdogan's side for years, critiquing his government as it cracks down on his followers and pushes for his extradition.
Some 50,000 people have been arrested in Turkey since the failed coup and around 150,000 dismissed or suspended over alleged links to Gulen, including soldiers, police and public servants. Erdogan accuses Gulen of using his followers to infiltrate the Turkish security forces and civil service, with funds drawn from a global network of schools and businesses, charges Gulen flatly denies.