Gulen, a preacher who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since 1999, is said to have planned the coup with supporters belonging to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) within the military and other state institutions.
Speaking at a televised meeting with the prime minister, deputy prime minister and head of religious affairs, Erdogan said: “I announce that whoever continues to listen to the charlatan in Pennsylvania will pay the price.”
The extraordinary meeting of the religious council in Bilkent, west Ankara, was held to discuss the coup bid and the exploitation of religion. Hundreds of officials and theologians are expected to attend the two-day event.
Erdogan said the precautions shown since December 2013, when a corruption investigation allegedly arranged by Gulenist police and prosecutors targeted senior figures in the government, had prevented a “much bigger threat” emerging.
“I regret that we couldn’t unveil this terrorist organization’s true colors previously,” he said. “I hope Allah and our people forgive us.”
The president said the struggle against FETO had just begun.
At least 238 people were killed and around 2,200 injured in the attempted coup.