US-based cleric condemns Turkish crackdown on supporters

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A Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Turkey accuses of masterminding July's abortive coup is again condemning a Turkish government crackdown on his supporters.

Fethullah Gulen (feh-TOOL'-lah goo-LEHN') says his "heart is aching" over Turkey's roundup of tens of thousands of his supporters. He says they're being subjected to "oppression and tyranny."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn) blames Gulen for the failed uprising, which left at least 270 people dead. Erdogan says he considers Gulen and his followers to be terrorists.

This week, Turkey sent the United States a formal request demanding Gulen's arrest.

Gulen lives on a compound in the Pocono Mountains. He denies any involvement.

Gulen said in videotaped remarks Thursday to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia the Turkish government is using the attempted coup to justify persecuting his followers.