Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan tells Reuters the U.S. should not ''harbour'' cleric Fethullah Gulen who he blames for a foiled coup attempt. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Reuters in an interview on Monday (September 19) that the United States should "not harbour a terrorist" like U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and that his activities should be banned around the world. Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies involvement in Turkey's failed coup in July and Washington has said it will extradite him only if Turkey provides evidence, much to the Turkish government's frustration. Erdogan said Washington had "no excuse" for keeping Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who Turkish officials say has built up a network of followers over decades inside the armed forces and civil service to take over Turkey. Authorities have cracked down on schools, media and businesses run by Gulen since the July coup. Turkey has sacked or suspended more than 100,000 soldiers, police and civil servants since the failed coup on suspicion of links to Gulen's network. At least 40,000 have been detained. Asked about the latest developments in war-torn Syria, Erdogan expressed his unease about the advances by Syrian Kurdish fighters and Islamic State militants on the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkey launched its first major military incursion into Syria on early September, saying it was aimed at driving out Islamic State militants. Erdogan said no lasting peace could be achieved in Syria without removal of President Bashar al-Assad from power. Turkey is one of the main supporters of rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, and hosts around 2.7 million Syrian refugees.