November 22, 2016 / 1:35 PM / 3 years ago

Followers of cleric Gulen still active in Turkish police, armed forces, Erdogan says

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the NATO Parliamentary Assembly 62nd Annual Session in Istanbul, Turkey, November 21, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

ANKARA (Reuters) - Followers of the cleric Turkey blames for orchestrating a failed coup this year are still active in the armed forces, judiciary and police, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, as he vowed to continue to root them out.

Turkey blames Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, for masterminding the abortive putsch in July, where a group of rogue soldiers attempted to overthrow the government.

“There is no place in this academy and land drenched with the blood of martyrs for those who sold their souls to Pennslyvania, the separatist terrorist organisation, or any other illegal organisation,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.

Erdogan frequently refers to Pennsylvania as a shorthand for Gulen’s followers and the “separatist organisation” as a reference to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Thousands of people have been sacked or suspended from the police, judiciary and civil service following the coup.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing David Dolan; Editing by Daren Butler

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