WASHINGTON: US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, the man blamed by Turkey for a failed coup attempt a year ago, on Friday again denied any involvement in what he called a "despicable putsch," and called on Ankara to end its "witch hunt" of his followers.
"Accusations against me related to the coup attempt are baseless, politically motivated slanders," Gulen, who lives in a compound in rural Pennsylvania, said in a statement.
"I reiterate my condemnation of the despicable putsch and its perpetrators," he said while decrying a government "witch hunt to weed out anyone it deems disloyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his regime."
Gulen's statement came a day before Turkey marks the first anniversary of a military-led bid to seize power from Erdogan.
Some 50,000 people have been arrested and over 100,000 fired or suspended from their jobs as Erdogan seeks to clean house.