Local experts weigh in on failed military coup in Turkey

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Local experts weigh in on failed military coup in Turkey, Lauren Lea reports. (KTRK)

Fethullah Gulen, the man blamed by the Turkish president for a failed military coup, has been living under self-exile in Pennsylvania. He has denied any connection to the violence in Turkey.

"I would be shocked if any of the followers here in Houston or Mr. Gulen himself in Pennsylvania had any direct contact with the coup," explained Houston immigration attorney Charles Foster. He believes some of Gulen's followers may have become disenchanted with the Turkish government.

"It's very conceivable that many of the instigators of the coup would have shared those same beliefs, disappointments that may have led them to start this ill-fated coup," he said.

PHOTOS: Unrest in Turkey

Gulen's teachings on tolerance and interfaith dialogue have inspired schools across America, like the Gulen Institute, which is housed in the School of Social Work building at the University of Houston. It is a research organization promoting peace and civic welfare, dedicated to academic work in conflict resolution, poverty and education.

Author James Harrington has written two books about Turkey and spoken at the institute in the past.

"My experience has been it's really sort of opened up the avenues of communication and sort of intellectual exchange of ideas. I think it fits in perfectly, in my view, with trying to build a better society," he said.

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u.s. & worldviolenceHouston
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