Police respond to incident at Gülen’s Pennsylvania compound

Updated to include the statement from the Alliance for Shared Values

Pennsylvania state police vehicles were photographed on Wednesday morning outside the compound of Fethullah Gülen, the Turkish Islamist cleric who tops his country’s most wanted list, local news outlet WNEP reported.

Gulen’s non-profit, the Alliance for Shared Values, released a statement on the issue on Wednesday afternoon, saying police had been called after a security guard fired a warning shot at an intruder on the compound, who appeared to be armed.

The AfSV's statement linked the incident to a recent statement by a Turkish government spokesperson, who said agents from the country's National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) would be sent overseas to conduct operations against the outlawed Gülen movement.


Earlier in the day, WNEP reporter Carmella Mataloni reported that “lots of police” had arrived on the scene, tweeting an image of police vehicles at a road leading to the compound, though initially the police made no statement on why they had been called out.



A later police statement reported that the police were called after a security guard at the compound fired a warning shot at an approaching trespasser.



Neighbours were warned to stay indoors by the police, who were searching for a man dressed in black and said to be armed, BRC News13 reporter Nicole Walters said in a tweet.



The police called to Gülen’s compound reportedly left without making a statement around midday (GMT-4). 

Gülen, the leader of a religious movement that is said to run educational centres and hold other business assets around the world, left Turkey in 1999 to settle in a 25-acre compound in Poconos, Pennsylvania.

Gülen and his movement initially enjoyed warm relations with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), but in recent years the party and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have accused the group of several plots to overthrow the government, the most recent being the failed coup attempt in July 2016.

Turkish officials say they have turned in several extradition requests for the cleric that have been ignored by U.S. authorities.

The Turkish government has also targeted followers of Gülen internationally, with six alleged Gülenists sent to Turkey from Kosovo earlier this year.