Turkish Journalist Assaulted Outside US Home of Exiled Figure

(IntegrityTimes.com) – A Turkish pro-government journalist has claimed to have been assaulted by a supporter of Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric based in the United States who has been accused of instigating an unsuccessful coup against Turkey’s regime in 2016. Yunus Paksoy was reportedly broadcasting live outside Gülen’s Pennsylvania residence near the Saylorsburg area when he was approached by a dark SUV. After the journalist confronted the driver in English and told him to pull away, a middle-aged man in a plaid shirt exited the vehicle and swung at Paksoy, before the broadcast abruptly ended.

Paksoy released a statement on X in which he said Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s head of communications had been notified along with the country’s ministry of foreign affairs and its New York consulate. Police were called to Gülen’s home in 2018 when a guard fired a shot at an “intruder” on the property. Turkey’s government imprisoned hundreds of people for life following the failed coup attempt against Erdogan. Soon after the coup, Turkey accused the U.S. of harboring the fugitive in Pennsylvania. Erdogan stated at the time that Turkey cannot be “bought or sold” and that it cannot be run from a property in Pennsylvania either. The cleric has lived in the U.S. in self-imposed exile since 1999. The coup attempt, in which rebel soldiers commandeered jets and tanks, had a significant impact on the domestic and foreign policies of Turkey that was still apparent years later. The violence in the coup attempt, which was suppressed in a matter of hours, killed at least 251 people and injured 2,200. Erdoğan’s regime calls Gülen’s alleged network the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation, but the cleric denies any involvement in the failed coup attempt.

Erdoğan has repeatedly asked the White House to hand over Gülen, but as the U.S. has demanded clearer evidence of the cleric’s alleged involvement in the coup attempt, relations between Washington and Ankara have become increasingly strained. Fahrettin Altun, Erdoğan’s head of communications, sent Paksoy “sincere wishes” after the assault. Altun commented that the journalist was attacked by the FTO for doing his job as a journalist. Paksoy said he gave necessary evidence and a statement to Pennsylvania state police, and that his channel and the state would investigate the incident.

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