'Very strong signs' Turkish gunman linked to U.S.-based cleric -official

ANKARA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - There are “very strong signs” that the gunman who killed the Russian ambassador to Turkey on Monday belonged to the network of the U.S.-based cleric who Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup in July, a senior security official said.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the current investigation was focused on the gunman’s links to Fethullah Gulen’s network.

The government says Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, created a “parallel network” in the police, military, judiciary and civil service aimed at overthrowing the state. The cleric denies this.

President Tayyip Erdogan identified the attacker, who was later killed by security forces, as a member of the Ankara riot police who had spent 2-1/2 years on the force. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Hugh Lawson)