Intruder chased from Gulen's US compound, Turkish cleric's group says

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New York (AFP)

An armed intruder was chased away Wednesday after attempting to enter the compound of a US-based Turkish preacher accused of masterminding a failed 2016 coup in his homeland, the cleric's organization said.

A statement released by Fethullah Gulen's Alliance for Shared Values said the man, "who appeared to be armed," attempted to enter the group's retreat center in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

"A guard reacted to the situation with a warning shot in the air and the person fled," it added.

Police were unable to confirm details about the incident.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames Gulen -- a cleric he once regarded as an ally -- for the July 15, 2016 coup plot that saw 250 killed, not including the plotters.

Ankara wants Gulen extradited from the United States and has expressed impatience over Washington's failure to hand him over, with the issue a major bone of contention in Turkey-US ties.

Gulen's group suggested the attempted entry was linked to the Turkish government, noting it came after Erdogan's spokesman said Ankara would launch "overseas 'operations'" against Gulen and his supporters.